Networking with experienced and helpful people is key to successful business growth. Though there are many ways to network, larger events can be invaluable for making the right connections your business needs. You have the opportunity to form valuable relationships with potential clients, partners, or mentors. That said, networking at large industry or corporate events can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know what to do or where to start. Let’s take a look at some simple event networking strategies you can use at every event you attend.
Make a Great First Impression
The first step to networking successfully is making a great first impression. It’s best to look your best and be ready to meet people. If in doubt, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. At a minimum, wear business casual attire. If the event is a more formal evening event, consider wearing a suit or choose from some modest formal dresses.
From the moment you walk into the event, smile and make eye contact with as many people as possible. Shake hands if you can, and introduce yourself. It also helps to have an elevator pitch ready to share if someone asks about what you do. Also, remember to exchange business cards or contact info to make following up easy.
Do Your Research
Before you go to a large corporate or industry event, it’s important to do your research. First, find out who will be attending and identify any potential connections you want to make. If you know anyone who is already connected to the event or the company, see if they can introduce you to important people. When you’re at the event, take the time to walk around and talk to as many people as you can.
Also, be sure to have some conversation starters ready, especially knowledge about various companies and industry trends. You can talk about the event itself, or anything that might be of interest to the other person. Most importantly, be yourself and genuinely interested in who you talk to. If you’re struggling to think of something to say, try asking them about their work or what they do for fun.
After the event, be sure to follow up with people who are of particular interest to you. Send them an email or connect with them on social media. If you promised to send them additional information about your business, make sure you do so. Following up is essential to networking effectively. It shows that you’re interested in maintaining a relationship and that you’re worth staying in touch with.
Once you’ve made a few valuable connections, it’s crucial to stay in touch. Attend more events, join relevant LinkedIn groups, and participate in online discussions to further develop relationships. And as your relationships grow, so will your professional network.
Using these event networking strategies gives you a greater chance of meeting people that could be important to your business. Though it might not be possible to attend every industry event, I recommend going to the ones that present the most potential for networking. Be sure to focus on quality over quantity to make some valuable business contacts.