How do you make the most out of those networking events that you attend? Whether you are in business for yourself or representing the company you work for, at some point we should/must attend networking events. So apart from the appetizers and food, what are 5 things you should do to make the most of your time?
Show up early
Show up early and network with the early birds before it gets busy. Some events are well attending and your business cards will get lost in the shuffle. If you are early, the crowd is usually thinner and it’s quieter so you have time to talk to the people without the chaos of the event.
Just fifteen minutes could be the difference between a good connection and a wasted night.
Everyone wears name tags but what does your say? You’re Jane or John Doe with XYZ realty … yawn.
How about if your name tag simple said “Jane – making the American dream come true”?
People will undoubtedly ask you what it means, engage you in conversation and remember you for being different. Test out your memory hook with people and don’t be afraid to try something different.
You blocked off your schedule to go to the event, but how about time after? I don’t mean block off time immediately after, I mean days or a week later you should block of some time for each and every event you attend to follow up with the people you did meet. Whether it’s time to send out e-mails, make phone calls or even set up face to face meetings, the follow up is going to solidify the relationship that you started at the event.
If there is time to speak about anything, be prepared to talk. If at the event they open up the floor for event announcements, maybe a smaller group is allowing all attendees to do a 30 second commercial about their business, whatever it is, be prepared to say something. The key is to stand out, this isn’t an middle school dance where you hide in the corner! Sometimes speaking up is your turn to shine!
Send a thank you to the organizer of the event
Usually these people know a lot of people, so be polite and send a thank you. It takes a fair amount of time and energy to organize events and there should be no end to the appreciation that is shown for the organized. So make them smile and put a few sentences together to say what you enjoyed about the event and how thankful you are that they organized it. A little appreciation will go a long way.
Now that you have these 5 networking tips, start looking for and scheduling networking events in your calendar!