Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Preparing For A Networking Event

© cliff1066™
Networking is an essential component for businesses success. Not only will you meet potential clients when attending a live networking event, you will also meet your competitors. Keeping tabs on the competition is one way to ensure your business is involved in the right kinds of activities and you can learn from successes and failures as well. Networking events are also a great way to meet supporting businesses (i.e., your allies), ones that may refer you customers/clients or provide you with supplies, and vice versa. Establishing synergies and strong relationships with others in your field builds your reputation and your success. Don’t only network with those who will benefit your company now, be sure to connect with those who will benefit your company in the future too.

Getting connected with your local Chamber of Commerce or Board of Trade is a great idea as they may host local networking events. Besides attending, you could consider renting space to exhibit your company at a networking event. Another way to find networking events is through http://www.MeetUp.com.

To make the most of a networking event be sure to:
  • Identify what you hope to achieve by attending or exhibiting 
  • Research who will be exhibiting and possibly attending, and identify who your top “have to meet” people are 
  • Practice how you are going to introduce yourself to others. That oh so dreadful “elevator pitch” must be flawless 
  • Wear a name tag or logo’d shirt that identifies what you are in the business of doing and dress to impress 
  • Bring plenty of business cards, write on the backs of them notes to jog the memory of the person your giving it to (e.g., the guy you discussed ducks with) 
  • Collect business cards and be sure to write on them who you need to follow up with 
  • Follow up with the important people you’ve met either through a phone call, coffee, drop by their location, or social media (e.g., like their Facebook page, send them a LinkedIn invitation, or follow them on Twitter) 
What other ways do you find contribute to success of attending networking events?

Miranda Vande Kuyt is a self-employed project and communications consultant. She is also the facilitator of the "Look Before You Leap: Self-Employment Survival Strategies" online course through www.LifeStrategies.ca.