23 Aug 2017
Networking plays a big part in most businesses. Whether you attend events and meetups on a daily, weekly, or more sporadic basis, networking can help your business flourish. From winning new clients to finding competitively priced suppliers, knowing how to work the room to your advantage is important.
As Business Development Manager, I often attend several events in a day. Here are my top tips for getting the most out of every opportunity:
It's very different turning up to show your face at an event, and actively engaging with it. Before you arrive, you need to make a conscious decision to engage with other attendees. Actively get involved with the group. Make sure that you talk to at least one new face, and follow up with emails after the event with an opportunity to meet.
Again, this is something you need to do before you arrive at an event. Think about what you want to gain from going - for example, are you looking for someone to partner with on a project, are you trying to recruit new staff? Set yourself a challenge so that you achieve something while there. This could be:
It's usual for the person organising an event to be in attendance - you'll often find them near the registration desk if there is one. At any networking event where you've decided to engage, make a point of introducing yourself to the organiser. This will reinforce your presence at the event and it will help you find out more about the organisation. You'll also benefit from introductions to 'good fit' contacts - remember, the organiser is the person who knows all the attendees best!
It's worth attending as many networking events as you can, but you should also pick a few key events that you never miss. This reinforces your commitment to those events. It should mean you become recognised as someone who can signpost other attendees to useful contacts, but also as someone other attendees signpost new contacts towards.
While networking is about meeting new people, it is also about catching up with existing contacts. If you've already talked to a couple of new contacts, don't be afraid to circle back to familiar faces. Find out how they are getting on and remind them about your business.