Networking events are a very productive place where people meet, interact with each other, and create connections that can help you as an individual (affiliate) or a company to grow. In this article, we will be sharing with your tips on how to be fruitful and gain lots of connections when attending a networking event.
How to find networking events to attend?
- You can search for groups you are interested on Meetup.com. There, you will find all the events that are taking place around you.
- You can also find events by asking your friends and family.
- Most often, the events are posted on social media. So, you have a good chance of finding them there is you are in forums or groups that follow those events.
1. List out the goals you which to attain for attending the networking event.
You need to be clear on your objectives for attending the networking even before the date of the event. You need to know why you are attending the event, who do you want to meet there, and what you want to achieve.
You can check out the names of the people who will be attending the event from the attendee list. This will give you a heads up on how to prepare and who will be attending the event. Even without the list, you can speculate about the type of people who can attend such an event and prepare meeting them. Note that without laid out objectives, you will leave the event without achieving anything.
2. Do research on those who you want to meet at the event.
If you are able to lay your hands on the list of attendees, you can prepare beforehand. You need to do some research and make preparation for introductory conversations. Getting as much information as need will give you a higher chance of making successful conversation that will be memorable and productive.
Google the people you want to meet, check out their LinkedIn profiles, websites, Facebook, etc. Get as much information as possible. Even the tiniest bit of information can be useful in this case because they can act as conversation fillers.
Also, there are some groups of the event in FB where you can ping your meeting request.
3. You can also let people you are planning on meeting know that you will be attending the event.
Once you have done your research on those who will be attending, you can send them an email informing them that you will be attending the event, and you will like to connect.
You can also post a link on your Facebook or social media page using the event hashtag that you will be attending. If the event has a Facebook or social media page or group, you can try posting your introduction there. This will let other like minds know that you will be there.
4. Choose the outfit you will wear to the event.
Make sure you plan your outfit at least one or two days before the event. This will give you enough room to make any changes if necessary. It will also save you time on the event date. You need to choose something neat and professional so that you send the right message to the other attendees. If the event requires you to travel, then you need to check on the weather to prevent any inconveniences. Note that your appearance says a lot about you.
5. Collect contact information in an organized way.
You need to make sure that all the contacts you collect are organized. For this, you can keep a separate notebook just for collecting contacts. Or even use Evernote to keep the collected business card organized.
6. Make sure you are prepared to talk about your work.
You are likely to be asked questions like, “what do you do?” It will be very helpful if you have put together compelling and interesting answers about those questions. Others should be impressed and what to connect with you. Try to put together what makes you unique.
- Your mission
- Your goals
- What do you offer?
- What are you looking for?
- What are the strong benefits of dealing with you
7. Get information about what is happening in the industry and global news.
You do not want to be left out in conversations when people are talking about current events. Do research on Facebook, Twitter, news, and other social media platforms to stay current. Note that you should try to avoid bringing up topics on politics or religion. This is because many people have diverse and opposing thoughts on those topics, and lots of people turn to shy away from them.
8. Be active in the Q&A.
This is a great method to get yourself know by the other attendees. You can do this by going to the mic and asking questions.
9. Try connecting with the speakers at the event.
This is also a great way to be remembered. You can meet a speaker before his/her talk and introduce yourself and tell them that you can’t wait for their talk. Make sure you keep the introductions short because they will not have time to listen to your life story.
Also, you can meet them after the talk. This time, they will have much more time, and you will have questions to ask based on their talk. Don’t forget to take a selfie with them and share it on your social media ;)
10. Connect with new people during the breaks.
Breaks are a very good time to meet new people. People often have something to say about what the speaker is talking about, and the break is a good time to do so. You can meet them at the coffee station and begin interaction.
11. If the event has a networking app, you can also be active on it.
Some shows bild the app where you can schedule the meeting, post in feed, stay tuned about the stage speeches and networking timelines during the event.
12. Keep your alcohol consumption to the minimum.
If the event has an after party, do not drink too much alcohol because you might end up embarrassing yourself, which will leave you with a bad impression.
13. Make notes about the contacts and conversations you were involved in.
It will be useless if you get back home and cannot remember who you had a conversation with and what it was about. It is highly recommended that you make notes about the contacts you have received and what you talked about to be follow up afterward.
14. Add the people you meet at the event as a friend on Facebook, LinkedIn, or social media.
If you took a picture with them, you can paste it on social media and tag them. When sending the friend request on social media, make sure to personalize it so that they know you are the one from the event. If you own a blog or website, you can invite them to contribute a guest article, or for an interview. Once all this is done, you can now send a follow-up email, especially about the conversation you had with them.
1. Establish your objectives.
You need to set the objectives that the company is hoping to attain by attending the event.
- Are you building your brand?
- Are you searching for sales leads?
- Are you building customer relationships?
- Are you developing relationships with distributors, suppliers, and stakeholder?
2. Plan your budget.
You need to know how much the company is ready to spend and on what. Once this is done, you will be able to put everything into perspective and know what you will be getting for the event. Some of the following promotional materials may be useful:
- Business cards
- Giveaways (paperweights, pens, T-shirts, etc.)
- Press kits
- Display booth (ranging from small to very large)
3. Make your involvement in the event known.
You need to let your customers, partners, followers, and the general public now that you will be attending the event. This is also another way of brand development. You can do this by sending emails to your customer base, publish it on the company’s website and on the social media page. You can also announce your participation in press releases and promotional material.
4. Create a system to follow up on leads.
Make sure you develop a system to follow up on the leads you gain during the conference. Most people overlook this step, but it is very important if you want to see results from the event. You need to get a database to store the leads and make sure you follow them up when you get back to the office. You can use systems like Asana, Hubspot, etc. You can follow-up your leads in this way:
- 1st follow-up the next day of event: quick reminder of what you were talking about and promise you’ll reach again next week
- 2nd - in a week: reminder of what your company does + opportunities of working together
- 3d - in two weeks: exclusive deal or very attractive proposal that can’t be missed
- 4th - last call in a month: figure out if something is going wrong and if they are interested or not of working together
5. Do research on the other attendees.
Research on those who will be attending the event and make a plan to meet with the key representatives. Do your best to connect with the speakers, other company representatives, and other people.
6. Make sure you give a good impression of your company.
You need to make people keep you in their minds and remember you even after the event. Be well dressed, and make sure that the company is represented at all times, even during breaks.
7. You need to ready for questions regarding your business and products.
So, it is good to familiarise yourself with those things. Do some research about the event's agenda and how your company fits into the industry.
8. Make sure you distribute business cards to the people you connect with.
Also, try to attend all the activities in the event. Especially the ones that are relevant to your company.
9. Make sure you prioritize the leads you gather.
Emphasize on the most promising ones.
10. You need to look more into the opportunities that you discovered at the event.
Check out the new trends, developments, and the company challenges that you need to address.
11. Discuss on your ROI.
Here, you need to check the following
- Amount of leads generated
- Sales achieved
- Number of contacts gained
- Cost per lead or contact
Note that some times, you can have a negative ROI after the event but you should not consider it as a loss. This is because you will gain valuable contacts that can be investments in the future.
12. Access your performance at the event.
Always access your performance after the event to know new ways to improve. Here are some of the things you need to consider:
- Did you meet up to your objectives?
- Did people appreciate your giveaways?
- Did your marketing materials have good quality?
13. Consider joining the organizing committee of the next event.
This is also a great way to promote your brand. For this, you need to research on the theme of the next event.
1. Your booth location.
You want your booth to be located in a place where it is visible or accessible to everyone. You can always try to book your location before the event, or come early enough to get a good spot. Note that a better located booth will gain more visitors.
2. Make your booth look attractive.
It is not rocket science to know that a good look booth will get more people interested in what you are offering. You can try using bright colors to design the booth and make it look attractive. This can be the difference between visitors walking by or stopping. Make sure that all your messages on the booth are clear and readable from every angle of the event venue.
3. Look approachable.
It is not only okay to have a good location and attractive booth but you also need to put on a smiling face. This is to make you more approachable. You can also make the booth approachable by displaying flyers, videos on screens, pamphlets, etc.
4. Be prepared to answer questions regarding what you are offering in the booth.
People will often come and ask questions about things they have heard or read about your product, or they may just be curious of something new. You should be prepared to give them a well structured answer.
5. Offer event specials.
Give some of your products at discount prices in the event to make sure that you get some sales. People will not want to miss the opportunity to get goods at a discount.
6. Encourage people to participate in you booth activities.
Make sure that the event is not bored by making lots of people to participate in the various activities that you present in your booth.
7. Encourage social media shares.
Do not only post the event on social media before the actual day. You can also be posting on social media as the event is going on. You can also ask people to tweet their questions with a hashtag so that it will be easy to sort out and find.
8. Interview some important people in your booth.
This is a very good way to get attraction. If you have the opportunity, you can interview some big names by your booth. Do not forget to video the interview. It will be great for social media.
Networking events are always a great way to find and meet successful people. Use the tips we have provided for you above, and you will have the most fun out of the event. We hope that you share this article with those who need such information, and we appreciate your likes and comments.
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