Networking events are a great way to meet people who can help grow your business. Today, they are more accessible than ever, as you can select from a pool of events online. With the many choices available, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when figuring out where your business should invest its time. This article will shed some light on the tips you should bear in mind when choosing the right networking events for your business.
1. Consider Where Your Target Customer Hangs Out
The first rule of choosing a networking event is finding your target audience or customers. Having a broad reach may be great for getting attention, but it does little to help you or your business grow if they are not convertible to customers. If you have promotional merchandise, a good networking event should focus on getting you in front of people who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer. It is not good to go out and try to network with everyone you meet, as there's usually a catch in that; the more diverse your networking events are, the harder it will be to pinpoint who your real target audience is.
2. Look for Events That Cater to Your Industry
There are many great networking events, but it can be hard to find one specific to your industry. Many networking groups are geared toward start-ups rather than established businesses, leaving many small business owners feeling like they don't have a place where they fit in. To find the right event, you should try attending some before you choose one for your business.
3. Consider the Location and Venue of the Event
As mentioned before, it is important to target your audience when deciding on which event you will attend. This means that there are likely networking events that appeal more to specific demographics than others. In addition to this, it makes sense to consider the event's location when choosing which networking event. If you are interested in attracting people from all over the country to your business, then a networking event that takes place nationally may be suitable for you. However, if you want to attract local people nearby, it would make more sense to choose a closer event instead of a national-level event.
4. Choose an Event with a Work or Network Mix
Some networking events focus more on the fun and social aspect of networking, and these can be great for small talk and making friends, but they don't always result in sales leads or contacts with people who can directly help out your business. A good networking event should have a blend of social activities and work-related tasks. If you're interested in just meeting new people, attending the occasional social networking event is an excellent option. However, if your goal is to expand your business, then a mix of socialising and working with new people is the way to go.
5. Consider How Many Networking Events You Should Attend
There's no set number on how many events you should attend as that will depend on what you're looking for. If you just want to meet some new friends, you can probably get by with a smaller number. However, if you're looking to make important contacts that may lead to more business for your company, it would be wise to attend as many networking events as possible. Some experts suggest trying out 5-10 different events before choosing the ideal type for your business.
6. Think about the Event Type
There are many different networking events, ranging from an organised affair with a specific plan to a jumble of people getting together on their own. A good mix would be a meet-up event where you know the focus and time frame for the event, but allows people to easily interact with others as if it were an open networking event. Choosing easy and comfortable events is a good idea, so you don't get overwhelmed or distracted by other factors.
7. Follow Up With Anyone Who Piques Your Interest
This is, perhaps, one of the most critical parts of any networking event. There are many tips and tricks to help you remember people's names, but it doesn't matter how well you know their names if you don't do anything with the lead. You should always follow up on anyone who seems like they could be interested in your business or an upcoming product launch. Do this by sending them emails, calling them on the phone, or inviting them to another networking event.
How to Make the Most from Your Networking Event
While at the event, you need to make the most from the other attendees and grow your business and brand. Here is how you do it without straining.
Have a Plan
The most valuable asset at any networking event is the time you spend there. It can be pretty easy to go to an event and forget your ultimate aim of attending. This is why it is important to keep in mind what you want from the meeting. Make sure that you know who you are looking for and which common interest links you two. You also need to note the purpose of the event and whether it fits with your business objectives.
Always Give before You Receive
The first lesson on any networking event is always to give before you take. Why? Because this will make others want to help you out in return once they discover how good a person you are. How do you give? If you don't know anyone at the event, simply introduce yourself to someone like a receptionist and offer them your help in any way possible.
Genuineness Always Wins
Being genuine is one of the best ways to make friends at networking events. That being said, you must portray a positive and open image of yourself. Don't be afraid to show your true self and give out personal details such as hobbies and interests. Remember that people want to know you more personally, but they won't take the time to get to know you if you aren't genuine in front of them.
This is the secret to making an impression on others at a networking event. Try your best to be a little intriguing in what you are saying and doing. For example, let's say that you met someone attending the same networking event with the same interests. You can find something unique about the event and ask them to share their opinion too. Asking questions makes people feel that you care for what they have to say. When they do, be sure to listen attentively and give them your full attention. You can always learn from other people.
Networking events can be a great way to grow your business, but much of the outcome is determined by how many people you meet there. As you plan on networking, remember all these tips and make the most out of the events. While it can be easy to connect and stick to one person throughout, the trick is balancing time spent with one person. Be brave, be fearless.