Sep
14

How To Enjoy And Get The Most Out Of Business Networking Events

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You need to get out there and meet people to generate business….

In business, personal connections are everything. People prefer to do business with those they have previously met or who have been recommended to them by people they know. This is strong incentive for business people and professionals of every kind to build up their personal networks.

The most successful people in business are invariably the best connected.

Attending networking events is one thing. But making the most of them is quite another.  Here are some tips to help you make the most of your networking time.

Have an objective when you go to a networking event. That way, you will feel more purposeful and find your actions more directed instead of wandering around the room aimlessly. It could be that you’d like to meet a certain individual whom you know will be attending. Maybe you choose to find two potential referral sources for your business or for a friend’s business. Perhaps you’d like to meet the speaker or re-connect with a certain someone you met at last month’s meeting and who you’d like to get to know better. If you cannot come up with a specific goal for the event, introduce yourself three or four people and learn about their businesses and then make them aware of yours, which is an excellent goal for almost any networking occasion. Don’t leave until you achieve your goal/s.

Look Sharp. Look professional. Before you get there, take a good look at yourself. Ensure your presentation reflects your desired image. That includes how you hold your drink and cutlery.

It’s about quality contacts versus quantity. When I go to a networking event, my aim is to make two to four meaningful contacts and invite them to meet me for coffee. It’s incredible what can happen over a cup of coffee. A good conversation in a relaxed setting often leads to good business and referrals for me.

Often, people are tempted to distribute and collect as many business cards as possible during a business event. You will get better results by setting a goal of making between two and five new contacts at each networking event you attend. By limiting the number of contacts, you are able to focus on quality connections, deeper conversations and building rapport and trust with each person.

It’s up to you to connect. So be proactive. Don’t just stand around waiting for others to approach you. Even if you are reserved by nature, now is the time to break out of your comfort zone. Everyone else in the room is there for the same reason as you and that is to meet others. So take comfort in knowing that nobody is going to snub you, if only because you might somehow be of value to them. Initiate conversations with a simple “Hello, I’m Ron Gibson. And you are?” Now you’ve got the person’s name and you’ve just started a conversation. In future articles, I’ll share some great questions you can ask to move your networking conversations along further.

Don’t make a beeline for your seat. Often, you’ll see people at networking events sitting alone at the dinner table staring into space―20 minutes before the meal is due to start. Similarly, you’ll see people sitting by themselves waiting for a seminar/ workshop to get under way. Why are they sitting alone? Take full advantage of the valuable networking time before you have to sit down. Once the event starts, you won’t be able to mingle.

Be genuine. Business networking is about being the authentic, real you. Putting on a fake persona or mask and trying to be someone you’re not will do you no good. No one likes a phoney. No matter how great you are and how great your product or service is, it won’t matter one bit if others feel you have something to hide. Always be authentically you, represent your business honestly and build genuine relationships with your network contacts. The financial rewards will definitely flow.

Remember these guidelines when you venture out of your office into the world of networking functions and events. Make the most of the time you spend while you’re there.

Happy networking. Maybe we will see each other at a networking event some day.

Referred to as “That Networking Guy” by many organizations, Ron Gibson provides in-depth networking training and coaching, focusing on business growth and development. Get Ron to speak at your next conference or sales meeting about how to bring in more business, more consistently and more often.  Ron can be reached on mobile 0413 420 538 and email gonetworking@iinet.net.au

Categories : Networking

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