The most valuable way to gain leads, connect with people, gather data, and build your event planning business is by networking. Knowing How to Get the Most Out of a Networking Event can help you in practice and prepare you for developing the skills it takes to be an experienced event professional. Here are some tips to making the most out of networking events.
Preparing Yourself Before a Networking Event
- Set your goals and think about everything you want to get out of the event.
- Research who will be attending or speaking at the event ahead of time.
- Practice your introduction to each type of individual you wish to meet.
- Be sure to bring plenty of business cards and pens.
- Prepare what you’re wearing because your image can have an impact on the people you network with.
How to Work a Networking Event to Your Advantage
- Make sure you review the list of attendees and look at name badges whenever you see them. That’s the best way to find your targeted people as they arrive.
- Keep in mind that you will be shaking many hands so travel light so that you can quickly shake hands.
- Demonstrate your eagerness when meeting new people so that you’re welcoming personality sticks with them.
- Always walk with confidence and a smile so that you’re approachable. Avoid folding your arms which can come across as negative body language.
- Hand out your business card whenever you see the opportunity to do so and don’t hesitate to be the one to make the first move and initiate an introduction.
- Circle around the event and keep yourself moving. You shouldn’t miss out on meeting key event professionals
- Be realistic and understand that you are there to meet people that will bring potential business your way, you’re not there to land a contract at first sight. However, if that does happen then bonus!
Following Up with Your New Contact After A Networking Event
- Your first move after a networking event should be a follow-up email or message on LinkedIn. Your message should convey how much you enjoyed meeting them, and include any topics that may have been discussed wherever it is appropriate.
- Add your new contacts to your LinkedIn account and your contacts list. You may want to create a new category to keep your contacts sorted appropriately.
- If your new contact(s) is local, invite them for a one-on-one to discuss potential business together.
Networking events can be very fruitful to your events business, and The Event Planner Expo is the best place to make new contacts and build your brand. Make sure to check your calendars and make it a priority to attend so that you are proactive in structuring your success as an event planner.