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How to prepare for a networking event

To make it easy, we’ve broken this topic down into three sections over the next three weeks: preparing for the event, being at the event and post-event.

Whether it’s compulsory or voluntary, attending a networking event can be a daunting task for some. You might not be a fan of the small talk, or the person that thrives on shaking hands with strangers, but if done right, networking events can be incredibly beneficial for your career and professional networks.

Would you like to learn how to come away from your next event with five important contacts and a new golf buddy, while avoiding the awkward introductions and monotonous small talk? Well, you’ve come to the right place. To make it easy, we’ve broken this topic down into three sections over the next three weeks: preparing for the event, being at the event and post-event.

This week we’re focusing on preparing for the event.

Know what’s going on

You wouldn’t go to a client meeting unprepared (well, we hope you wouldn’t), would you? It’s the same for a networking event. It’s a good idea to spend a few moments understanding what the event is about, including:

  • The key topic
  • Who the speakers are and what they’ll discuss
  • The crowd the event will draw
  • What you want to achieve by attending
  • What you could say that would add value

Know who will be attending

With technology ruling the roost of the corporate world, many events now have websites / applications where you can create a small profile about yourself for others to view. If the event you’re attending has one of these you should:

  • Create a professional profile
  • See who else is attending

After viewing the list, make note of specific people you would like to meet at the event. Through LinkedIn or a simple Google search (no, it’s not creepy … everybody does it), you can learn more about the people before you meet them. This valuable information will help your confidence when approaching them.

Prepare a short introduction

First impressions are critical. Ensure you prepare a short introduction about yourself that’s confident and natural … be wary not to memorise it though as you may come across as robotic or fake. Your pitch should include:

  • Your name
  • What you do
  • Why you’re attending

Also account for the fact that you need to let the other person introduce themselves. Don’t rush into a story about how you’re the 11th most important person in your company before you know who they are and what they do.

Ask lots of questions

You should be aiming to ask more questions than you answer. Be sure to listen intently, maintain eye contact and angle your body towards somebody you’re talking to. Not only is it polite, it makes the person that you’re talking to get the feeling that you’re genuinely interested in them. The result is they become more open and share more information about themselves, which is a great way to start building a professional relationship.

Remember your business cards

This one is obvious … we probably don’t need to tell you, but you’d be surprised how many people turn up to events without business cards.

How do you prepare for a networking event? Let us know in the comment section below.


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