For many people, being a good networker is an integral part of their job. After all, you never know where the people you meet could lead. When finding new candidates, clients or contacts, networking and connecting with people is very important. Here are some key tips for doing it well.
Research the event and attendees
If it is a recurring event, who attended in the past? Is an attendee list available? What kind of event is it? Ask yourself those questions and, as much as possible, find the answers.
If one of your clients is listed to attend the event, ask your point of contact at that company if they are attending. It is another opportunity to meet them and their colleagues in a more social setting.
Don’t forget to dress accordingly. If you are feeling self-conscious because you forgot to bring a jacket etc., it will not help you feel comfortable and relaxed.
Practice your persuasion skills
Those attending the event are looking to meet people the same way you are. You may not have the chance to meet every single person there, but you certainly can do your best to try to meet as many people as possible.
Have what you want to say prepared ahead of time; be ready to quickly and succinctly introduce yourself, and answer questions on who you are, why you are there and what you do. Don’t let an opportunity to make an impression slip away by only making small talk.
Be a connector
This is your opportunity to shine. If you meet people who you believe would benefit from knowing others who are there, introduce them. This is another reason it is important to have a succinct sales pitch and really listen to what people are saying. You can use the information to connect attendees.
Ask good questions, be a good listener
You aren’t attending the event to have a one-sided conversation. Take a genuine interest in the people you meet and you will be surprised where it may lead. Be open-minded: meet as many new people as possible, and learn about new firms and industries.
After meeting interesting individuals, don’t forget to follow up. Within 24 hours, send an email to say thank you, or connect with them on LinkedIn.
You may have a new point of contact for a firm, but if you didn’t do anything afterwards, you probably won’t leave an impression with them. Don’t let those business cards you received go to waste.
Most of all, take time to enjoy meeting new people. The event you attend might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Make most of the moment and the people who are in the same room.