Let’s be honest, most networking events are like your bi-annual dental examination; you need it, but you don’t want to be there and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
However, there are a few things that you could be doing at every networking event you go to that could be holding you back and prevent sales leads and business introductions.
Many businesses enjoy running large corporate networking events to introduce one another to friends and business associates and there is absolutely no reason why you can’t have a slice of that pie and boost your income or organisations sales.
The first rule of networking – Don’t stalk your prey or act in hunting packs
Having dealt with a number of corporate businessmen and women, one of the first things that I was able to pick up on was the way that they went about their networking business.
A lot of “first timers” see a networking event as a game of supermarket sweep and try to get around the room as quickly as possible, so let me tell you know – that’s not going to work and you wont impress anyone.
Of course, it’s tempting to stay with the people you know and feel comfortable around, but how else are you going to make new business introductions by sticking to your business partner’s hip? C’mon!
Some great topics to discuss with new people are specific thoughts on a current topic within your industry, how they felt a particular event went – did they go? Or how they first got introduced to the event that you’re currently at.
Embrace the social media and use it to your advantage:
Now then. When we say embrace social media, I don’t mean for you to see how many Snap Chat filters you can go through during the course of the evening – to say it would be counter productive would be an understatement.
However, you can use social media platforms such as Facebook, Linked In and Twitter to glance over a particular persons profile to see if you can find anything that will make the initial introduction a little less awkward.
Introducing yourself to someone completely new is hard enough, so do whatever you can to put yourself in the best possible position to strike a positive introduction – after all, who knows where it might lead?
Another thing worth looking into is the specific #hashtags that have been generated for the event. In most cases, these large corporate occasions will have large LCD Twitter feeds – use this to get you out there without meeting someone face to face.
Make your initial introduction via the screen and then hey presto!
Make sure you show an interest and stand out
How may people go to a networking event in a major city?
100, 1000 or even more? It’s hard to provide an exact figure but there’s going to be a lot there so the opportunity for a new business introduction remains high n matter how well you back yourself.
However, whatever you do – try not to fall into the trap that so many others do when at these kind of events.
The whole . . . “Hi, my name’s Alex and I made a million quid in sales for my company last year – I’m kind of a big deal” – yeah, that’s not going to work.
Remember to be yourself but do try to standout. You want to be remembered as the suave, sophisticated guy/girl that had a real professional vibe and positive attitude around them. Never be tempted to lie about your achievements because one way or another, they’ll come back to haunt you.
Don’t attend absolutely everything, only what’s relevant
If you really wanted to get your name out there, you could go to a networking event every night of the week, but it wouldn’t be very productive.
It seems that there’s a networking event for every type of business these days so its important to remain selective and pick the events that matter to you. For example, if you’re a car salesmen in Wycombe you might want to take the time to go to a new car launch, or even an open networking event at a local dealership.
Making time to go to IT networking conferences or specialist marketing seminars probably won’t be worth your while.
Use Linked In? Apply the same method:
Linked In is arguably one of, if not the most popular online networking platforms available, so why not use the same introductory methods in real life as they obviously work?
You’ll notice on Linked In you have 2nd and 3rd connections that require an introduction from a friend before you can start to engage with them. Why not ask the event manager to make that initial introduction to help settle the nerves and make life a little easier.
Icebreakers are a great way to make new connections
We recently compiled a list of useful icebreakers that events managers could use to help ease the tension in the networking venue.
Popular forms of introductions combined with photo booths in London have always gone down well as they allow you to really relax, unwind and enjoy the occasion without being too worried about making a fool of yourself.