Preparation of your materials before an event is very important, as we have detailed in a prior networking article. But what materials do you need? There are many tools out there that can be adapted for use while you network, and these tools can significantly simplify your life. Here is a list of tools for a successful networker.
The proper attire
There are two options according to the type of event. If the event is quite formal, with representatives from large companies for example, you should wear a suit and tie if you are a male and a nice dress or suit if you are a female. Remember that you clothing represents you and your attitude so it is important to dress appropriately. For a less formal event, you still need to look professional, but you can be a bit more casual. In both cases, you will likely be at risk of spending long hours on your feet so make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Finally, another tip is to try to differentiate yourself from others. You should add a touch of personality to your style to help people you speak with remember you. Remember, we suggest a touch, not anything too distracting.
A list of participants
This list of people attending the event should be studied as soon as it becomes available to you, but it is also very important to reference it an additional time on the day of the event. Why should you do that? That is your safety net. Imagine if you spot a person with whom you previously found interesting, and you do not know how to strike up a conversation with this stranger. Check out the information from the list of participants to see his or her name, company, or profession, and then you can open your first encounter by discussing something you have in common. Additionally, if you cannot remember some contacts as you lost a business card or something, you will not feel nervous because you will have the opportunity to verify their name on the participant list.
The ultimate pros of networking always have business cards on hand so that they can keep in contact with people they meet and speak with. An organized and well-designed business card is a good way to be remembered as it may show your personal style or that of your company. It is not necessary to give your business card to everyone you ever meet. Actually, by giving out your business card to someone who is completely uninterested, you are likely to leave a negative impression. You should be cautious and select people who you are going to interact with and those people who are really interested or at least somewhat interested in you or your company.
It is important to always have a working pen with you, as this can be extremely handy. For example, offering a pen to someone who needs one can be a good conversation starter and great way to get to know someone. The principal use for having a pen with you while you network is to be able to take notes on business cards you receive and make note of the place and context of where you interacted with the person. Some people consider taking notes on business cards as impolite so it is up to you to judge if you need to do it or not.
Today, a smartphone is becoming an indispensable tool for networking. It lets you add new people that you meet immediately to your address book. When you add someone as a contact, you can also add him or her to social networks (professional ones) such as LinkedIn or Twitter, which helps you remember who the person is in your contact list. Additionally, these tools help you add to the content of discussions, with photos, videos, or even your own website. This digital content should be used in moderation, as bothering your contacts with notifications and messages late into the night can leave a poor impression. It also allows you to leave delicate situations discreetly by playing that you have received a text or email that you need to attend to. There are a number of other applications dedicated to networking that we will likely cover in a future article.
Networking events are a perfect opportunity to communicate and advertise what you do. Distributing communications materials can improve your image and broaden your followers. For your event, the form of your material can be an easily readable leaflet or updated brochure. Remember that the people representing your company should focus on handing out brochures to the people that would be most relevant. It is important to tell people, “don’t hesitate to circulate and pass them out around you.”
A touch of freshness
We finish with the final important thing to have with you while networking, mint flavored chewing gum! No, this is not a joke… After an entire evening of speaking, it is possible that you might not have the most fresh breath. Nothing is worse than speaking with someone with bad breath. Obviously, don’t spend the whole night chomping on your gum as this is not attractive; however, when you have a break, then grab a piece of gum and a glass of water.
There you go! Now you know the tools to be a good networker. Thanks to these tools, you will be able to handle all your events and network with ease.
Original article written by Hugo FITAN on our French blog
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