When it comes to spreading the good word about your company, event networking is a great tool to do so. Most people don’t understand how important networking events can be, and how much impact they have on building your reputation up in the industry circles.
Networking events are about bringing people together, have a positive experience, and help them bond in a memorable, meaningful way. Let’s see how you can make your event a success with people using these 5 practical tips.
Do Your Event Networking Homework
Networking is more than showing up and passing out your business card. It is about meeting the right people, sharing your company’s goals and ideology with them, and gaining valuable contacts at the event.
Know Your Goals
All you need to do is a little homework, prepare and practice in the right way, and you will be good to go. Before you organize an event or go to an event, you need to ask yourself, ‘why am I going?’
Whether you are arranging virtual events or offline events, you should know the event goals as clear as day. Knowing your goals beforehand, and what you are hoping to accomplish, will help you streamline your priorities and stay focused.
Harness the Power of Social Media
Find out who will be at the event so you can learn a bit about them and their interests. This will make it easy for you to break the ice with them at the event. Social media is a very powerful networking tool and you need to use it to your advantage.
If you are organizing an event, create an event page. Then, encourage all the fellow attendees to interact with each other on social media platforms.
Send the event attendee creative direct mailers or emails in advance to build up the anticipation for the event.
Post an announcement on your company’s webpage, tweet about the event, or share the event details on different LinkedIn groups.
Share Information & Solve Problems with Them
When you meet someone new at the networking event, the first thing to do is to introduce yourself. Make eye contact, smile, state your first & last name, and keep the handshake firm, but brief.
Want to know a networking secret? Make it about them, and not you. Let the other person speak first and allow yourself to listen to what they are saying. Take interest in the conversation and let them tell you their issues and problems.
After this, you can swoop in and explain how your company’s services/products will be the perfect solution for their problems. Always have some good questions in your back pocket to keep the conversation going.
Ask the other person about their background and work to show that you are interested in them as a person. This will allow you to create professional connections with industry experts and industry leaders in a very personal, tangible way.
Refer People in Your Network
Your company and you can’t provide solutions for everything. There will be many people at the vent with needs that you can’t fulfill. Don’t be sad or upset and think of it as an opportunity to refer to other people in your network that can help them.
If you refer them to other people, that will be beneficial for you as well. Connecting multiple people builds credibility & strengthens your network. Both parties will think of you on good terms and will help you out one day when the opportunity arises.
Take part in the various discussions that are taking place at the event, as they will help you build meaningful connections with people in the business communities.
Thank Them for Their Time
In the fast-paced world of today, time is a precious commodity. If people have taken out the time to come out to an event, it is your duty to thank them for the attendee’s time. Hand out your business cards, and make sure that they feel welcomed.
If possible, hand out small promotional items as a thank you token when the event ends, with a hand-written thank you note to add a personal touch.
Follow-up From the Event Networking Session
Strike when the iron is hot and follow up while the event is still fresh in the minds of the attendees. All the effort you put in at the event will go to waste if you don’t follow up. Wait for a few days after the event, and then send follow-up emails to people whom you met at the event to let them know you appreciated their presence.
A hot-tip is to personalize each email by mentioning something that you two talked about at the event. One of the fastest ways to put an end to a budding connection is by sending someone a generic LinkedIn message.
If you promised them something, an interview, a free product or service, follow through and deliver on your word for the best bonding experience. Schedule meetings with like-minded individuals such as luncheon meetings where you can do casual networking.
Moreover, you should search for mentions of the event on social media accounts and connect with people who are talking about the event. Keep an eye on your inbox for people who are trying to connect with you after the event.
Balance the amount you spend on networking activities before and after the event to get the optimum results. Spend a little time nurturing the contacts you built at the event and you will be happy with the results you get.
Final Word About Event Networking
A huge advantage of networking events is that you get access to expert speakers. Networking events are a great way of meeting new people and creating awareness about your company in the market. Whether you are hosting a virtual networking event yourself or are attending one, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
For a successful networking event, make sure that you do ample research on the attendees of the event so that you will be able to connect with them in a better, well-informed way. Moreover, after the event is over, make sure that you follow up on the contacts you made to make the most of the meeting.
Use social media to create awareness about the event, both before and after the event takes place. Go through the feedback of the attendees and make sure that you do everything to nullify any concerns if any.