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etworking has always been an essential part of our lives. Only we didn't even think about it. Until Stanley Milgram and Jeffrey Travers came up with their famous Six Handshake Theory in the late 1960s, few people ever paid serious attention to the power of networking. Fifty years have passed, and now this practice is used very successfully in professional and not only professional circles. Have you never tried business networking before? Here's how to prepare for a networking event correctly and without unnecessary actions.
9 simple steps, how to prepare for a networking event
- Check out the type of event and prepare a suitable outfit
It is commonly believed that appearance has no impact on your professional brand. In reality, only pros with an established reputation and real achievements can look how they want to. As long as you're not Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, you have to take care of the first impression. Choosing the right outfit will help make an excellent image and also draw attention. The main thing is to know what to wear to the event and how to select the right style.
- Go through the list of speakers and guests
Not many people perform this basic action, and for no good reason. Knowing who is performing, what the topic is, and someone's accomplishments will make it easier to find new contacts. For example, you can use this information to start a short conversation or discussion in the company of others. Also, many events are organized through social media groups. Here you can check the list of participants. Perhaps there you will find those who have the same interests, activities, etc.
- Leave some comments or text some messages to the participants of the event
After the previous step, you should have no trouble performing this action. You don't have to push yourself or become a stalker. Put a few likes and write a few nice words under the publications you think are helpful or interesting. It is enough. After such a sign of attention, you are likely to be easily recognized when you meet someone in person.
- Prepare some little things to be fully ready
Just in case, take a pen, notepad, and other little stuff that might come in handy. These types of events are not just for people to make new acquaintances. There is usually a lot of helpful information shared at these types of meetings.
- Plan a route to the location
How does this step relate to the topic of how to prepare for a networking event? Don't underestimate such little things. Often, events are held in unusual or isolated locations that are not easy to get to. It is best to arrive early to such meetings so that you can look around before others, get good seats and, if possible, talk to the speakers.
- If you talk business, make your social networks look presentable and solid
Yes, it's better to delete some compromising posts or photos from social media. If you just want to make a couple of new friends, you can skip this step.
- Don't let people around you see your smartphone, but keep it handy all the time
There is nothing wrong with using mobile devices. However, at events of this type, it is better to leave your hands free. This way, you can shake hands with your contact and create a feeling of maximum interest in the conversation. Hide your phone for a while in your bag or pocket so that you have quick access to it when exchanging contacts.
- Instead of an elevator pitch, think of the conversation topics
Usually, in tips on how to prepare for a networking event, they tell you to do a little self-presentation. That's a great idea. What to do if your pitch is perfect, but you have nothing to talk about afterward? We did a post on our blog with 5 scripts for online and offline communication to help you avoid awkward situations.
- Take care of your new business contact management beforehand
More often, at this step, you are advised to take as many business cards as possible and exchange them with others. You can do that, but then what? Where's the guarantee that they won't get lost? Instead, we recommend using modern solutions such as a relationship management app. You can use it to store contacts from different channels, set reminders, and get the latest information about a new acquaintance. It's much more convenient than business cards.
That's all. Now you know how to prepare for a networking event fast, accurately, and with maximum efficiency. The above guidelines, if used correctly, will help you create strong connections and build your career or business. If you want to know even more about creating new networks and relationship management, read our other articles on the blog.