Effective Business Networking
You’re preparing for a large-scale evening business networking event. You realize that you’re attending the event alone, and you do not know anyone. Your objective there is clear: to speak to as many people about potential business opportunities.
To make the most out of this situation, you have to prepare seriously for this.
Know Your Logistics
Always be prepared, especially when you’re travelling. You will want to know where you are going. It might seem obvious, but you do not want to be late for the event.
It’s so easy to prepare beforehand nowadays with Google maps or with GPS. You definitely do not want to reach your destination and find out that you’ve travelled to the wrong place.
Do some research of the surrounding area too (for restaurants, café, bars). That way, if you found a potential business client, you can always follow up with them over some drinks or food.
Preparation For Networking
The whole point of the even t is to show up with preparations that will present a good impression of yourself, and get your contact information to the other party.
It will be a good idea to find out who is going to be at the event. Check the emails, websites and guest list for more information. After finding out the names, do some research about them; you’ll definitely want to find out who is representing which company. That way, when you meet them, you’ll be able to show them that you’ve done your homework about them and their company.
Having awareness of the invited guests will also give you an added advantage of planning your small talk. There will be things to talk about like their companies, or what may be of interest to people in their field.
Next, you’re going to have to bring your business cards, loads of it. A general rule of thumb is to bring more than you think you’ll need. There’s nothing worse than not having any business card to distribute when someone asks you for it.
Keep the design of your business cards simple. Do not flood it with pictures or graphic designs. Also try not to use cheap business cards, it will be easily recognizable by some.
The information to have on it: your name, your company’s name, your personal office number, your email address, and your position in the company.
Aside from bringing your business cards, also remember to bring a few pens (at least 2). There’s nothing worse than asking to borrow a pen from someone else at a business networking event, it just shows that you came unprepared.
You do not need to buy an expensive luxury ballpoint pen, but at least have one that looks professional (Professional means that it doesn’t look like it’s made for children).
And my final point, which may be the most important, is to put your phone to silent mode. You do not want to be interrupted in conversation by the ringing of your phone, neither do you want to be consistently distracted by your phone texts.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using your phone if you really need to, but remember to do it discreetly and not in front of other people.
Make A Good First Impression
To make a good first impression, first you have to dress properly for the event. That means you shouldn’t be wearing too casual attire. Confirm the dress code of the event with the organizers before you go, so you’ll have a rough idea of what to wear.
Aside from your attire, you’ll also want to look neat and tidy. That refers to personal grooming, which includes things like shaving, haircut, fingernails, personal hygiene, and so on.
Those will be the minor details people will notice, and that will be the one to make a big difference with their impression of you. Most men lack the ability to “put it all together” as they pass day by day, and you’ll want to make sure you are labeled as someone confident and well prepared.
My final point for making a good first impression will be your behaviour and body language. A good behavior consists of simple things like helping people open doors, or holding the lift.
Non-verbal communication consists of 93% of all communication; so displaying confident body language will large shift the good impressions into your favour.
Confident body language will include things like maintaining eye contact, having a firm handshake, standing up straight, projecting your voice tonality, avoid crossing your arms, hold your neck up high, etc.
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