How do you prepare for a networking event?

circling the date of an event on a calendar

Good news, you have been invited to a networking event!  Thanks to the previous article, you should know a little bit about the type of event you are planning to attend. The day is approaching…but, are you sure it will go well?  What can you do to prepare for it?  Don’t look any further!  We have brought together solutions and tips in this article to teach you how to succeed at your next networking event!

Set goals for yourself

Setting goals for yourself can be very beneficial.  At first, it drives your motivation.  The challenge of a goal is great because you are pushed to do all you can to reach it.  For example, “at all costs, I must make sure to connect with ______person who would make an excellent client for my product.”  This might be the absolute priority on the top of your list of goals.  Then, establish the secondary objectives such as obtaining at least 5 new prospective contacts.  These goals also allow you to define the profile of the type of people that you should be interested in meeting at the event.

Study the list of participants

The first thing to do is to closely study the list of participants.  Why?  Take notice of the profiles that seem the most interesting.  How you research the profiles depends on the goals you have established and what you plan to get out of the event.  It could be effective to reach out to prospects that could become clients or other people who could help you by having a particular expertise in something or even people who know experts in a field that relates to your product or service.  There are many diverse ways in which you might target who to contact at the event, but the one thing that is certainly important is to study this list as it is indispensible for carrying out the next step.

Contact interesting profiles

The next step, if it is possible, you should contact people in advance.  You can get in contact with these people in different ways.  Social media networks seem to be the easiest way to find people by their name.  In certain cases, if you are lucky, the contact information for the participants may be directly distributed to everyone on a list.  Then, you can setup a meeting time during the event to make sure you don’t miss each other.  In addition, by contacting them first you can also confirm that they will be in attendance.  It would be terrible to completely prepare to meet a particular person only to realize that the person is no longer able to attend the event.  You could also set up a meeting outside the event.

Contact the event organizers

It might seem strange or out-of-place to carry out this method, but it can be very proactive and effective.  Actually, a good approach is to offer your assistance by taking photos, aiding a presenter, engaging in live tweets, etc.  If the event needs help that you can provide in any field, then that is the best way to make a good impression.  If not, you can still volunteer to help with event setup.   For example, an expression of gratitude at the closing or opening of a speech can leave a lot of people with a good impression of your product or service before they even meet you.  By contacting the organizers, you can find out the maximum amount of information about how the event is progressing according to schedule and then you can decide how to act.

Work on your introduction

During networking events, you will introduce yourself a dozen times, or perhaps more. You not only introduce yourself but also your company or your product.  Here, the goal is to hook their interest onto your product or service.  The goal is to interest them enough for them to desire to continue your discussion as well as leave the event with your contact information.  Your approach should be concise, organized, and powerful.  The goal is not to come across as too forceful or too eager.  Be cautious and aware of your environment and your goals to make sure you don’t come across to strong. Prepare in advance an introduction of a couple sentences that enables you to express several important things clearly: Who you are?  What you do?  Why you are in your field?  And most importantly, how you differentiate yourself?  This last answer takes practice to master the response.

Prepare your materials

To be sure that you don’t forget anything, make sure you prepare your materials in advance.  You need to think ahead and figure out what you intend to take with you to your event.  Everything you bring should be useful and don’t bring extra things you won’t need.  Plan ahead in advance your outfit, brochures, business cards, chewing gum, pen, and of course your smartphone.  We will outline some of the tools all people need to keep with them to maximize their networking chances in a future article.

 

And…voilà! You know how to properly prepare for a networking event. By following these steps, you maximize your chances of success at these events. Now there is no reason to panic ahead of time, right?

 

 

Original article written by Hugo FITAN on our French blog

 

Check out Beekast ! A comprehensive web and mobile solution to promote, manage, and bring life to your events (conferences, meetings, seminars, conventions, workshops…)

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Erica Martin

Business Developer at Beekast

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