For most of us, we find networking events intimidating, stressful and downright scary. However, there are number of things that you can do to help you approach a networking event without the stress and ensure you achieve some success.
• Firstly you need to ask yourself the following three questions:
• What is the focus of the event?
• What do you want to achieve from the event?
• Do you know anyone going to the event?
You will need to be clear on why you are going to the networking event and what you want to achieve from this. If you know someone else attending the event, this can give you a starting point for someone to talk with and maybe introduce you to some new people. If you can answer the three questions above you will have made a good start to successful Networking.
• Plan who you want to meet and most importantly what you want to say. Make sure you have mastered your elevator pitch.
• Dress appropriately for the networking event. Generally events are business attire but if you are not sure, err on the side of caution and wear a suit. Remember, first appearances do count!
• Don't ask someone "What do you do? within a few minutes of meeting someone as this suggests your interest in them depends on their answer.
• The most underrated skill to possess at networking events is ability to end conversations (not start them ) and keep 'working' the room.
• Don’t forget to bring your business cards. Invest in quality cards because your business cards speak volumes about you and how you do business.
• Remember that networking isn’t something you do, it is something you build. If you do not achieve your objectives at your next networking event, fear not and plan for your next one. It is through attending events that you will build your confidence and over time you will build your network of contacts.
• As you build your network, you will discover that your network is an instant reference for you – so not only can it provide you with information, it can also recommend you.
• Link in with someone as soon as possible after you have met them such as email or LinkedIn.
• Finally – be confident! Through self-confidence, you will more easily and more readily build others trust in you – an important factor in doing business successfully.