When was the last time you attended an event? Have you met someone interesting lately? If you answered no to any of these questions, it’s most likely that networking is not one of your priorities.
Yes, networking can be exhausting. It involves getting out of your comfort zone, attending events and getting close to people you don’t know and with whom you may have nothing in common. But it is one of the most valuable abilities that you need as an entrepreneur. How else will you meet people who will open doors to new business opportunities?
For networking to become a habit, you need to start incorporating certain activities to your routine. So participating in events is probably the best way to build your network.
Here are some tips to get the most of this tool when you assist an event.
Make A Plan
Networking is more than going out and meeting people. It involves having a plan to find people that are willing to do business with you or introduce you to those who may be interested in doing business with you. Keep in mind specific aspects like: what do you want to achieve, where do your potential clients meet, and which organizations are you interested in establishing a link with. After your answer these questions, identify the most relevant events in your industry and go to the ones that fit your goals.
Research Before You Go
Arrive at the event prepared. Start by researching who organized it and for what purpose. The organizers probably won’t have time to talk to you, but at least try to find out. More importantly, find out who is on the guest list and identify the people you are interested in talking with.
There are a lot of things you can do during an event to expand your network.
–Listen carefully. The success of networking lies in listening and learning from others. During conversations, identify people’s needs and concerns. That way you can find ways to help them.
-Don’t sit around waiting for things to happen. Join a group and participate in the conversation, this way you will gain visibility.
-Carry your business cards with you. You never know when you will get a chance to meet an important contact. If you don’t have your business card with you, you will miss an opportunity.
-Be friendly. Make people feel welcome, ask them what their motivation to assist the event is and offer them help in case they need it. People may not remember what you said or did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
Keep in Touch
Keep in contact with the people you met. Send them a hand written note where you mention something that you talked about when you met; communicate with them through social media platforms; find out if they have published an article you can share. The most important thing is to build a real relationship, and to keep in touch with them in a manner that differentiates yourself from the rest of the people they met at the event.
Finally, do not think of networking only as an opportunity to meet customers. Make it a habit where you can create a network to share information and knowledge for the benefit of all.
Tell us how you do networking in your business!
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