Networking events offer a great opportunity to meet new, like-minded people who are passionate about what they do. People are there to make connections, learn about new opportunities and be inspired.
If you’re a rookie at networking, you might find these events a little daunting. But don’t panic! There’s always plenty of food and drinks to keep an army happy for a week, so if all else fails, you’ll get a good feed.
But if you want to make the best of a networking event, you can’t hide in the corner, gorging on mini quiches and organic spring rolls. You have to throw yourself out there and strike up a conversation, otherwise great opportunities might pass you right by.
Here are 6 ways to make sure you take something (other than a belly full of canapés) away from networking events!
- Come prepared
Before the event, make sure you are clear about your strengths, talents, passion and unique qualities – the things that make you… you! Plan what you want to talk about and how you may be able to help people.
- Have a chat
Don’t be afraid to approach a stranger and start a conversation. Ask questions about the person’s background, job and interests and find out why they are at the event. Remember, just be yourself and smile!
- Don’t sell
Networking events are about making connections, not pushing your service / product. When you’re chatting about your business, make sure you’re not trying sell. Instead be informative, highlight interesting aspects of your work and answer questions. Of course if there is a genuine need for your product / service, do let people know that you can help.
Make sure you listen to the person / people you are talking to. Think about how you could be of help and solve any issues they may be encountering. Also, keep in mind how they could assist you with any problems you might face in the future.
- Follow up
After the event, make sure you make contact with the people you exchanged details with, either via email or LinkedIn. Follow up your conversation by saying hi and offering your assistance. If you promised to introduce them to one of your connections, make sure you do so.
- Practice makes perfect
The more networking events you attend, the easier they will become. Schmoozing will be like second nature in no time and your list of valuable connections will increase rapidly. The skills and confidence you pick up at these events can also help you make new and valuable contacts in your every day life.
Want to become a pro networker? Start by checking out one of our favourite networking events below! Hope to see you at one of these soon!
Event for professionals in public relations, marketing, advertising, technology evangelists, digital, media buyers and other media industry professionals.
Events for women in business. Business Chicks hosts regular lunch, high tea, and breakfast networking events for professional women nation-wide.
Leaders in Heels (LIH)
Business in Heels events are regularly run by LIH, to inspire and connect women in business.
Business Connector hosts regular thought-provoking events for business leaders and top-level professionals in all industries.