Business networking events are a great tool to boost your business’ reputation and even win new customers. However, if you don’t pick the right events, and aren’t willing to talk to new people, they can prove wasted time out of the office.
Here’s a selection of top tips for getting the best out of business networking events to help ensure success in 2016.
- Do your homework. Find out who is attending the event beforehand and who the key speakers are. If possible, try to get a list of the attendees so you can decide who you really want to meet. And do some research on LinkedIn. With over 400 million people on the business networking site you may well have a few shared connections with some of the attendees.
- Don’t be afraid to ask the event organiser or a mutual connection to introduce you to a particular person to get you off on the right foot.
- Don’t dismiss people. It’s important to remember that even if they can’t help you directly, someone in their network probably can.
- People often make the mistake of going into an all-out sales pitch straight away. Start by finding out about the person you are talking to, their business, operations and challenges. This is much more informative and allows you to lead the conversation to your business without appearing overtly sales-y.
- If you say you’re going to introduce someone to a colleague or business partner, then do so. Doing favours for interesting people you meet can leave a positive and lasting impression and work to your advantage…
Most importantly, smile, chat and relax and don’t take yourself too seriously. Focus on the social side of the events and you’ll get so much out of them.