Having a powerful personal and business network is crucial to one’s career progression. This network will become an important source to keep you on top of industry trends, a radar for future job opportunities and a reference for potential business opportunities and clients.
Participating in business networking events is one of the easiest ways to build up your network. While industry veterans may consider the techniques of networking to be common sense, here are a few tips for those just starting out.
Mapping out key people to connect with at an event is one of the most effective methods of business networking. If you aren’t sure where to start, look for information about the event organizers and try to find out who will be attending. This can be done by looking at newsletters or coverage from previous events.
It is always difficult to start up a conversation when you meet someone for the first time. Normally I look for something we may have in common such as commenting on the event, giving a compliment on one’s outfits, or for someone you may recognize as working in the same industry as you, you can simply ask “what’s keeping you busy these days?” in order to kick-start a conversation.
After some small talk, it is best to introduce yourself and give some background on what exactly you do. This can sometimes reveal more common ground and give you other things to talk about. Try to impart something unique about your company or service that may leave a lasting impression.
If you do come across someone who seems interested in working with you, they will likely want to know more about you and your services. Therefore, make sure you are well prepared and able to talk in reasonable depth about what you do and how you might be able to add value.
Building a human connection is crucial to maintaining long-term relations. It is always good to follow up with an email the day after the event. You may also want to connect with your new contacts via a business social media network such as Linked-in. If you promised to send someone additional information about yourself or your services, ensure that you do so in a timely manner, as first impressions are everything.
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