Networking Tips for Event Planners

May 4, 2015 Megan Stoeckel

One of the most dynamic components to the success of your brand is your networking strategy. Who you know and how you utilize that relationship can be what brings your business to the next level. Climbing the corporate ladder in the event planning industry does, in fact, require taking smart steps, and the first one should be your outreach efforts. Put yourself in a position to network with industry people that can help with your company’s goals and place you in a more lucrative position.

Referrals make up 80-90% of all new business revenue which means that networking is an essential part of your growth. How you strategize your networking efforts will play a major role in where it leads you to. Here are some of the best ways to practice your networking skills to ensure victory.

Muscle building your efforts. It is good practice to attend various networking events where you can meet influential professionals that can lead to money making contracts. You should go to any event with a mathematical mindset. Each person you meet and interact with will be an addition to your contact list, referral, or client. Have a preset conversation opener for each scenario so that once you’ve decided which category the person you are speaking with falls into, you know which direction to take the conversation in immediately.

Embrace rejection. It’s important that you know that the word “no” is something you will repeatedly hear so developing thick skin will help you process the rejection without being discouraged. The ability to brush it off will help you build character and make you persistent about your business.

Sugar and spice and everything nice. Be sure to keep a smile on your face and be nice to everyone you interact with. You never know who you’re going to meet, and each person should be envisioned as the person who will open doors for your business. Never burn bridges in business because you never know when you’ll need to cross that bridge again to survive.

The power of giving. Whenever you’re amongst peers and industry professionals, you want to appear to give more than you take. People appreciate a “giver” more than a “taker.” The energy of giving will come back to you in business karma because you are offering advice, your time, or even referrals. Over time, that power will grab the right person’s attention who will in turn, want to give back to you. Hopefully, you’ll receive more than you hoped for.

Increase your contact list. There’s a popular saying that goes “you are only 4 or 5 people away from anything you ever want or need.” This is quite true in the event planning industry. The more people you add to your database, the closer you’ll get to just the right person that will elevate your level of success to the top.

Communication. It is vital that you maintain contact with the people you have come across and exchanged contact information with. One of the most successful forms of communication is to meet with people face to face periodically. It provides a more approachable touch and allows people to trust what you’re presenting. A phone call can work just as well if you’re unable to meet in person. Email is great too, but this may be the least successful form of communicating. It allows the recipient to brush you off quickly and decline any invitation for further discussion.

Simplify your approach. If you’ve been attending events with the intent of meeting people who will help your business grow or open new doors for you and it hasn’t been working, then it’s time to evaluate where you’ve been spending your time. The only fact that you should be focused on is whether or not the meeting or event is generating results. If so, then you want to continue attending, but if not, you want to find new meet-ups and activities that will. Don’t waste your time on anything that doesn’t generate results within a considerable amount of time.

Constructing relationships. There are people repellents and people magnets, figure out which one you are and why. You want others to see you as a friendly and positive person that would be pleasurable to interact with. When you give off positive energy, you attract people who want to build a relationship with you rather than push them away. No one wants to do business with or help anyone that they feel may bring them or their company down.

Goal setting. If your vision is clear on where you want to head, then the steps to getting there will fall into place over time. Creating a plan to match your goals is something you want to draw out during the beginning stages of branching out. It’s up to you to make sure that you create a short-term and long-term goal for your business. If not, then there is no foundation to your success plan and without a foundation, you will fall.

Utilize resources. There is a plethora of resources in the event industry that can help you achieve anything you wish to accomplish. Putting together a strong and supportive team can help you with your networking efforts. There are only so many hours in a day and days in a week for you to conduct business while also increasing your network. When you have a team to work with, the networking tasks can be split amongst several people. Sign your team up to attend networking group meetings online and in person. Get connected to a variety of organizations that will help you stay on top of your networking game and provide a broader range of possibilities.

When you connect, nurture, and build relationships with people in the event industry you get the chance to tap into hidden areas of the market and learn about new opportunities. That is why it is vital that you pool your resources and expand your contact list in order to strengthen your network. Remember that what you're aiming to do is connect with people not collect people so remember, maintaining a relationship with your database is a fundamental part of networking.

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