Networking events give tremendous opportunities to entrepreneurs. From meeting with important key players in your niche and like-minded people through expanding your business network and establishing strong long-term business relationships to increasing your chances of gaining new customers and winning the attention of investors – the benefits compensate the dedicated time.
To make the most of every networking event being present is not enough. There are some things which you can do in order to make the most of every business networking event that you attend and here are the top three rules to follow.
Research and strategy
Spend some time to research the key attendees of the event and pay special attention to the people you really want to meet and talk to. Learn more about the work they do, the projects they’ve worked on and the business aspects that they are interested in. By doing so, you will be able to create a strategy, which have to include some key components: how you are going to approach them, what can you do to get and keep their interest, what do you want to accomplish with the interaction and so on. Always have a clear goal when you prepare for attending a business networking event and have an action plan that will help you to achieve the desired results.
Quality over quantity
Most of the networking events that you are attending are probably very crowded – there are many people like you who are there to connect and impress potential customers, investors and business partners. It is impossible and unnecessary to meet with all of the attendees. Choose to concentrate on the quality of the meetings over the quantity – one, two or five fruitful conversations, which have potential to become useful relationships, exceed in importance 20+ meaningless interactions.
The power of asking the right questions
Once you have approached someone you should be able to keep their attention if you want to have longer and meaningful conversation. Here you should put in action your conversation skills and engage in a dialogue not monologue. By asking the right questions, which are important to you and not boring to your interlocutor, you are increasing the chances of establishing a great ground for further association. Show interest in what the people say. Listen to them and reply accordingly and you will increase your chances of becoming more memorable.
Bonus: Follow up!
Great! You have enjoyed the last networking event and managed to connect with the people you wanted. You had interesting conversations and feel enthusiastic about the future and the potential of the established relationships. But the time passes and you receive no phone call or email. It seems like you’ve wasted your time. Don’t let this thoughts get to you!
There are many reasons why people may not be getting back to you as fast as you expected. Remember, everyone is busy! So, now it is time for you to take the initiative in your hands and to make the step forward.
Always, always follow up. Be persistent but not pushy and you will eventually get where you want to be!