We have all heard these words before, but how true are they? Is it more important to have contacts then it is to learn and gain knowledge? Are the two independent of each other or is there a relationship?
I attend a number of networking events so I wanted to share with you what I do when preparing for a networking event.
1. Identify key events– your time is just as precious as money in business. Choosing which events to attend is crucial. Networking is about meeting people that will add value to your business.
2. Cost of attending– There is not only the money cost but the trade off. You could attend the event or you could spend that time working in or on your business (“Work on your business, not just in it“).
So I have decided the event is worth attending as it could create some great opportunities for me.
3. What is the purpose of me attending– Give yourself goals or objectives for the event.
Now I need to prepare for the event
4. What do I need to know before attending– You may need to do research before going to the networking event so you go prepared.
5. What do I need– You will need 20-50 business cards, an elevator pitch to introduce your business and possibly brochures. TIP: I highly recommend a pen and a notepad. Extra TIP: stick to the basic essentials. SECRET TIP: Your own personalised name tag!!!
6. Clothes– You have found out what the event or location dress code is, so dress to this. TIP: it is easier to dress down then to dress up. Extra TIP: Wear something eye catching that grabs attention.
7. Logistics– Know how you are getting to the event and leave enough time to arrive on time. TIP: Find out parking places and cost from the event venue. Extra TIP: Give yourself extra time to freshen up before walking into the event.
8. Personal Grooming– Look how you want to be remembered, as you only get one chance at a first impression. TIP: brush your teeth if you’re a smoker or strong coffee drinker. Secret TIP: Tic Tacs or mint chewing gum can be used for mouth freshener.
You are now at the event.
9. Remember your goals and objectives at item 3.
10. Moving around– don’t walk around asking for business cards and handing out your business cards like a black jack dealer. Take your time to talk with people.
11. Alcohol– my personal preference is to not drink. But if you are, moderation is essential.
12. Relationship– take the time to listen to others as well as talk yourself. TIP: build a repour/relationships. Extra TIP: Don’t spend all your time talking with people you already know or with one person/group. Secret TIP: We have 2 ears and 1 mouth, use them accordingly.
13. Finishing the conversation– If you want to meet the person for a follow up meeting after the event, let them know.TIP: by saying. “[name] I would like to meet up again for a chance to talk more. Would you like to meet later for a coffee?” Extra TIP: When you say you are going to call them, call them. Secret TIP: read the Extra TIP again so you remember.
So, is it not what you know but who you know? It is a combination of both. If you go prepared knowing what you need to know, then when you do meet the right people, you will be ready to build a relationship with that person. I leave you with these words
“Luck is where opportunity meets preparation” ~ Benjamin Franklin
~ Damien Foley