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Navigating Networking Events
  • 17 November 2019
  • Alex Penfield

Navigating Networking Events

If networking events conjure up images of sweaty palms and awkward interactions, you’re not alone. Even seasoned schmoozers know that networking can be nerve-wracking. But they also know it’s necessary. According to LinkedIn, almost 80% of professionals consider professional networking to be important to career success. So how can you make these critical opportunities less cringeworthy and more career-advancing for your small business? Below are our top tips for stepping out of your comfort zone and making the most of your next event:

Navigating Networking Events

  • Come prepared
    Before you head to the event, gather any information you can about fellow attendees, speakers, topics of interest and special guests. This will help you set your priorities and stay focused during the event. On the flip side, it’s important to stay realistic when it comes to your goals. Networking is a marathon, not a sprint!

  • Be on time
    While being fashionably late can be tempting, it’s best to show up on time to get the most out of the event and avoid missing out on important introductions and conversations. Plus, being tardy can give off the wrong impression to potential connections.

  • Break the ice
    We get it: Networking can be awkward, but it’s important to remember that most attendees are in the same position you are. The best way to approach a potential connection and break the ice is with authenticity and confidence. Extend a firm handshake, make eye contact and kick off the conversation by offering up your business card and a bit about yourself and your background.

  • Use your ears
    According to a Forbes interview with Ivan Misner, author of Networking Like a Pro, a good networker should have two ears and one mouth and use them proportionately. Remember to listen closely to what others are saying, ask follow-up questions and express genuine interest. This will ensure you are able to add valuable input to the conversation.

  • Follow up
    You’ve made a few great connections, shared some laughs and traded business cards. Now what? Keep the connection fresh by sending a follow-up email after the event. Express how much you enjoyed your meeting, and include something of value, such as a link to an interesting article about a topic you may have discussed, to keep the conversation going.

Navigating Networking Events

Networking can be a tricky skill to get a handle on, but it’s a critical way to create connections and grow your business as an entrepreneur. Treat it like a game, and keep practicing until you find your rhythm and personal style. Just remember to relax, be yourself and have fun. You’ll be networking like a pro in no time!

 

 

 

 

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