Business networking is one of the most effective way to market yourself and your business. By attending such events, you’ll have the chance to meet like-minded individuals from whom you can share and possibly discover and learn new things.
Aside from that, business networking activities also present opportunities to meet potential customers and clients, as well as possible business suppliers.
Furthermore, business networking events can build symbiotic relationships among peers and associates that can help test new ideas or resolve current issues in your industry.
Given such enormous benefits and importance to business networking, how then do we make our attendance effective and successful?
Here are some practical tips that you should remember when you’re off to attend a business networking event:
- Before deciding to go to networking meeting, learn and assess if the people attending belongs to your target market or if they are within your social interest.
- Have a general idea what your objectives are in attending the event. Is it to meet new clients? Find possible business partners? Or do you just want a night of socializing? Guide your conversations with people toward these goals.
- Networking events commonly have an agenda or activity program. Know before hand what to expect and have some background information on the speakers, if there’s any.
- Be ready and rehearse a personal introduction to yourself and your business. Say a piece of interesting trivia or something informative about your business towards the end of your spiel to encourage a conversation.
- Learn how to extend and give a firm handshake.
- Bring your business cards, lots of business cards. And don’t be shy to give them.
- Alternatively, when receiving a business card, be sure to take a look and read it. The giver will appreciate it. Do something memorable and ask for an extra business card. Tell the person that you have someone in mind that might be interested with their business.
- During the event, be sincere and genuinely show interest in talking to other people.
- Be ready to contribute to discussions and offer advise when there’s an opportunity to help. You’re there not just for yourself, but to give value to others as well.
- A good conversationalist is usually someone who asks people open-ended questions to encourage them to share their thoughts as he sincerely listens. Ask a lot of Why’s and How’s.
- In networking events, there will always be small groups of people who’ll stay close to each other. The best way to meet them is to initiate an informal chat with one and then ask him or her to introduce you to the others in the group.
- When you meet a potential customer, try to keep the conversation casual and don’t sound too eager to do business with the person. However, be sure that you’ll be able to get their contact details and other relevant information.
- Never monopolize the time of a person. Get to know them well enough for you to remember them and for you, to leave a good impression.
- If someone is holding you for too long, then there’s nothing wrong with being straightforward and courteously saying that you want to go on and meet other people in the room. Excuse yourself politely and walk away.
- Sometimes, there’ll be someone who’ll just stand or roam around quietly alone. Go to them and start a conversation. Be extra supportive and introduce the person to others whom you already know. This is an effective way to create a memorable impression to the person.
- After the event, write down every relevant information you learned, sort out the business cards you collected and plan the things you need to do, such as commitments you might have made and immediately scheduling calls to customer leads.
How about you? Any more tips you can give to make the most out of attending a business networking event? Please share them below as a comment.
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Photo courtesy of Axis Experience
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