As an entrepreneur, blogger, someone looking to make their mark in a particular field, or someone simply looking for a job, attending networking events is a way to meet potential employers, learn the environment of a company and make connections that would help with business in the near future. Preparing for a networking event is pretty similar to preparing for an interview, however networking events are less personal which means that you get one shot to make an impression, make a business partner and make a sale. Here are some helpful tips when preparing for a successful networking event.
Never attend a networking event without a plan or purpose, otherwise it becomes just another social gathering. If you’re an entrepreneur looking to build a larger customer base, the goal is to present and “sale” your product to as many people as possible. If you are a blogger looking to build a larger following, market your site with something that others don’t have. If you are looking for a place of employment with the company, search and talk to the people who are in charge of the hiring process and make it known that you are hoping to work for their company. Play up on your good qualities, but don’t overkill it.
Is it A Good Fit? Research the different companies and organizations who are hosting the networking event. Are they a right fit for what you are looking for? If you’re someone looking to break out into a career in media and publishing attending a networking event for people in finance most likely wouldn’t make any sense. Most good networking events cost money to attend, but the lessons and takeaways are very invaluable, it is important to tap into your discernment when figuring out which ones are good investments or money wasted. Ask yourself is what you’re learning or going to be learning at this network event things you already know? Are there companies or speakers on the roster who you would love to meet if given the chance? Are there more things you can do without than with?
Be Yourself. It’ll help you stand out. When most people attend networking events, they always do research and tend to read articles like this that forces them to either turn into a robot or causes them to completely overdo it. To be on the safe side, just be yourself. If you would normally wear bold colors and accessories because they are a part of your personal brand, then ditch the black, grey or tan business suit that everyone else will be wearing. Don’t be afraid to walk up to someone and introduce yourself. Be your usual humorous self (careful with the vulgar jokes though). Most companies look for personality. They get a dozen applicants a day, meet tons of people who want to partner with them and if you’re a blogger there are millions of people in this world who have the same thoughts as you, but how are you going to set yourself a part from the rest?
Always have business cards or information about yourself ready. When things are going well with a connection pass them a card with your contact on it. You wouldn’t walk away from a good date without exchanging information so why would you walk away from a great potential partner, employer, or customer without doing the same? Remember you are a brand. You are your own PR agent and marketing team.