I know the idea of networking can be daunting to many, but networking really works. Heck, I’ve gotten several campaigns and even my last two jobs because of the people I knew, not just on what I knew. So if you’re ready to rock your next networking event, read on!
Whether you’re an entrepreneur who wants to expand your empire, are looking to get into a different career, or are just looking to expand your likes and interests, consider upping your networking game. At the very least you’ll get to meet new people outside of your regular network of friends, acquaintances, and/or business contacts, which is a win/win in my book. So the next time you attend a networking event, consider the following
Ways to Rock Your Next Networking Event!
Authenticity goes a long way in building trust and relationships. And relationships are exactly what you’re looking to build through networking. Networking isn’t just talking about yourself, your company, or your services. It’s about asking open ended questions that require more than yes or no answers. This shows the people you’re meeting that you are genuinely interested in them and allows for a more natural flow for you to talk about who you are, what you have to offer, and possibly how you can work together with them or someone they know.
Know Your Brand
Whether you consider yourself an entrepreneur or an employee, you should consider who you are and what you represent, your own personal brand. As such, you need to be able to let others know: what you do; why you do it; who it can benefit; and how you do it better than anyone else. Once you’ve figured that out, find a way to wrap it into a 30 seconds or less elevator pitch.
Have a Plan
Regardless of which networking event you attend, you need to have a plan on what it is you hope to accomplish. It’s easy to get lazy and allow the event to turn into a social gathering, rather than a lead generating event. So as you chat others up and they share who they are and what they do, do a quick assessment to see if this is someone whom you could possible work with in the future or if they know others who could use you in the future. Then explore each option accordingly and let them know of your interest, and vice versa. Remember this is a relationship, so you should be listening to what they have to offer too, and see whether it’s a service you or someone you know could use. Once you’ve connected and shared your intentions, exchange contact information and move on to someone new. Don’t spend the entire event just talking to one person. Chat up as many people as you can, just make sure you make every encounter genuine and true to who you are and what you have to offer.
This is the most important piece to every networking event, especially if you’ve already agreed to meet to share ideas. Follow up and let them know you’d like to get to know more about them, what they’re working on, and how you can help. And if someone entrusts you with a referral, make sure you go above and beyond honoring and respecting that lead and the person who shared it with you.
For everyone else you meet, consider following them on their social media channels. This allows you the opportunity to keep tabs on each other and possibly send follow up emails based on something they share, that’s in line with what you do. It’s also a great way to showcase yourself as a resource or subject matter expert by sharing your own content, or that of others, which show how well you keep up information in your field.
Yes, I know, it’s a lot to think about, but once you’ve worked out the first few, the rest is easy. So get crackin’ and you too can rock your next networking event!
What are some of your networking “go to’s”?
How has the value of networking impacted your professional/personal life?