5 Things To Consider Before Attending A Networking Event
Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know and attending networking events is one of the best ways to make professional connections. From tradeshows and industry-specific speaking engagements, to breakfast networking groups and happy hour gatherings, there are plenty of business-related functions to get involved in – but here are five things to consider before attending one of these meetings.
- What you will need
The key to a successful networking event is to be well prepared. If you’re looking to promote your company, for instance, make sure you have plenty of business cards and flyers to hand out on the day and give them to both passers-by and those who ask for your contact details. You might even want to look into rollup banner printing or have signs made to draw attention to your stall, especially if you’re competing against similar organisations with a strong marketing campaign.
- How many people should attend?
Networking events are the perfect chance to spread the word and make a good impression, so in order for things to run smoothly, make sure you take enough staff along with you. Going it alone is often not an option, especially if you’re running a stall as you’ll need at least one person to distribute brochures, one person to take money if you’re selling merchandise and another to chat with people interested in your work. The last thing you want is to be understaffed and not have the time to have a conversation with potential clients, so always plan for these events carefully.
- Your goal/purpose
With so many networking events taking place throughout the year, you could attend one every month if you wanted to, but the trick is to choose a gathering that’ll benefit you – and that means having a goal/purpose. If you’re new to a particular geographical area and simply want to meet other like-minded people, attending a local breakfast group might be the way forward. If, however, you want to advance your knowledge on a certain topic, roundtable events or lectures could be your best bet.
If your main reason for attending a networking event is to attract new clients, it might be a good idea to offer some kind of discount or perk to those who show interest in your work at the tradeshow. This could be in the form of a money off voucher, a discount code on the back of specially made business cards, or a goody bag of luxury products for them to try. This will not only make people feel like valued customers, it’ll give them a reason to contact you in the future.
- The target audience
When deciding where to network, you should consider your target audience and where they are likely to go. If you’re in the catering industry, for example, it’s probably wise to attend food and drink orientated events such as tasting sessions, cookery shows, chocolate making workshops, beer festivals, wine experiences and open days depending on the nature of your company as this is likely to attract people interested in what you do.
Networking events should be fun and rewarding, but in order to make the most of them you should consider the above five points carefully.