Attending a networking event can be a little daunting for a newbie, inaugural networker, which is why at iwant2network we believe firmly in making these events more accessible for all. Whilst we have done a number of blogs on making the most of your networking and how to work a room with pizazz and style, we thought this week we would go back to basics, with a handy checklist on dos and don’ts at networking events.
1. Mobile phones
Yes….you are very busy and yes your business is important. But, there is little more irritating that watching someone sit on their phone and use your speaking slot as an opportunity to catch up on emails. Try turning your phone off or putting it in your bag, out of sight, out of mind and we really do promise your contacts can wait two hours.
A number of networking events will have alcohol, some will even have vast quantities in a multitude of tastes, whilst at other events it will be completely free. Now whilst this can unquestionably be a great way to calm those networking jitters with wine tasting offering a nice middle ground you should, with few exceptions, make sure to mind your alcohol and avoid getting absolutely sloshed. Remember people do business with people they like, not people who slur their pitch.
3. Super sales-y
Networking is all about building robust and meaningful connections that can lead to long term business. Therefore, please, we implore you, don’t be super sales-y. Instead try to be open, friendly and responsive and, we guarantee, the sales will come your way.
4. Use jargon
Jargon has a time and a place, but given that attendees at the majority of networking groups are from wide and diverse sectors, and they are likely to get confused if you use overly financial or technological language. Instead, keep it short, simple and sweet.
5. Elevator Pitch
Interestingly, this term dates back to the earliest days of Hollywood, when screenwriters would have their pitches at the ready to catch unsuspecting executives on an elevator ride. Although these days the term has been adopted by networking groups where, in general you will need to give a 60 second overview of you, your business and how you add value. We would recommend practicing this in front of the mirror, friends, family and really anyone who will listen. Honestly practice makes perfect.
6. Follow up
Networking doesn’t just happen inside the room, but also outside. Make sure to make a note of the people you want to catch up with and actually do it – get those meetings in the diary and see your contact list flourish. Adding your connections on LinkedIn can also be a fantastic way to stay in touch. We would recommend using a planner to jot out who you want to speak to and make sure you get those invaluable 1-2-1s in the diary. There is also a fantastic resource called Introduce Please which makes the process that bit much more painless.
7. Networking goals
Creating a list of networking objectives can prove to be extremely powerful in making the most of your networking. Think about precisely what you want to get out of your networking event and see your dreams become a reality.
8. Speak to a new person
It can be far too easy at a networking event to stick with people you know. However, we would advise spreading those proverbial wings and speaking to some of the newer attendees; not only will it help them feel more welcome, but you may also see some benefit.
We’re sure you’ve heard it before, but it really is true. Good posture, maintaining eye contact and a strong handshake are all immensely important when meeting new contacts. Remember you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
Last, but by no means least is this point: listen, Make sure to listen our for the hopes and needs of other networkers and see how you can help them.
Trust us, in networking this makes all the difference.