Being successful in business requires many skills. Networking is at the top of the list. Unfortunately, many people do not understand the value of learning how to network at an event.
Excellent networking skills can make the difference between massive success and utter failure. It’s not all about attracting new clients. You also need to establish an array of connections that can help you take to the next level.
In this article, will take a look at 10 tips for networking that will give you an immediate competitive edge in the marketplace. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to network effectively.
1. Stay in the Hotel Where the Conference Is Held
This should be a no-brainer, and yet many people still haven’t figured out the advantage of booking a room at the same hotel where the conference is being held.
Why is this a great tip? Just think about the hundreds of other business people who will be staying right there at the conference. That means you’ll be riding elevators together and dining in the same restaurants. This makes it easy to make contact and have casual conversations over a meal or a drink at the bar.
Keep in mind that networking is all about building relationships, and those relationships can develop faster when you’re able to mingle as much as possible.
2. Send out Emails and Tweet Ahead of Time
Remember that there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of attendees at a conference. Thus it can be challenging making contact with everyone you’re interested in talking to.
We suggest being proactive and sending out an email or tweet ahead of time announcing your plan to attend. This can be a mass email to everyone on your contact list, or you can direct it to specific individuals to give them a heads-up that you’d like to connect sometime during the week.
3. Be Approachable
One of the keys to networking is to circulate and behave in a way that’s open and engaging. Keep in mind that you’re there to meet people and engage in as many conversations as possible.
That means putting away your smartphone or tablet, thus resisting the impulse to check your email or texts every five seconds.
Smile. Shake hands. Don’t cross your arms. And maintain a posture that makes you look pleasant and friendly.
4. Don’t Hesitate to Start Conversations
You didn’t go to a conference to sit in your room and watch TV. You’re there to do business, make new contacts, and strengthen existing relationships.
Get out there and mingle. Be bold. Never be afraid to approach with a smile and start conversations with fellow attendees every chance you get. Because the truth is that you never know where a random conversation might lead.
Conference attendees are naturally attracted to outgoing personalities. Even if you consider yourself introverted, the more people you meet and talk to, the easier it will become.
5. Don’t Hover
While you want to be as social and conversational as possible, be sure that your approach is friendly and engaging. If there’s a conversation you’re wanting to join, but you don’t know anyone in the group, it might be tempting to hover until you see an opening.
Resist the impulse to hover. Because when you hover, you run the risk looking like a stalker, or at the very least kind of creepy.
The key is to learn the skill of smoothly approaching and politely introducing yourself, and those in the group will typically be glad to meet you.
6. Be Active on Social Media
Social media has rapidly become a powerful networking tool. There are a wide range of social media platforms that you can use for making the most of your time at a conference.
Regardless of what platform you prefer, you can engage with followers, offer updates about your schedule, and promote appearances and products.
Taking advantage of the power of social media is also ideal for reaching out to fellow attendees without having to exchange contact information.
If you’re looking for a great conference to attend, consider checking out the NEDAS Boston Symposium.
7. Learn How to Exit Time-Sucking Conversations
Learning how to exit wasteful or useless conversations can save you a ton of time. After all, there’s nothing worse than getting trapped in a conversation that’s going nowhere. Time is limited, and you need to make the most of every minute.
Exiting a conversation without seeming rude or dismissive is crucial to ensuring that you accomplish all of your goals during the conference.
8. Plan to Connect Socially
Another key tip for networking at conferences is to remember that not everything happens on the conference floor. This is why it’s so important to stay at the hotel hosting the conference.
Most people understand that a ton of businesses happens away from the actual conference over dinner or drinks.
But don’t play the waiting game and simply hope to randomly run into people. Make plans throughout the day to meet later at a popular bar or local restaurant. Always remember that people what to have fun, and are more apt to talk business in a relaxed environment.
9. Bring Plenty of Business Cards
Don’t forget your business cards. And bring plenty of them. After all, you’ll want to make sure that everyone you meet has your contact information.
10. Establish Clear Goals for the Conference
You’d be surprised how many people attend conferences without clear goals or expectations in mind. This is a recipe for wasting time and being unproductive.
Do yourself a favor by being as organized as possible. Know what you hope to accomplish and outline the steps for achieving those goals.
Tips for How to Network at an Event
Learning how to network at an event is one of the best ways to get ahead in business. After all, business is all about meeting people and establishing relationships. The tips contained in this article can help to make the most of your next event.
For more great conference information, take a look at the resources on our website.