Home Business Insights & Advice Mastering your first networking event

Mastering your first networking event

by Sarah Dunsby
16th Feb 24 12:41 pm

Alright, folks, let’s have a chinwag about this whole networking malarkey. If you’re a business owner and you’re about to dive headfirst into your very first networking do, then buckle up because you’re in for a wild ride. But fear not, because I’m here to spill the beans on how to not only survive but thrive at these shindigs. So, grab a cuppa, and let’s get cracking!

Don’t be a wallflower – dive in!

First things first, you’ve got to get stuck in. No lurking in the shadows or pretending to be immensely interested in the nearest potted plant. Networking events are not the time to channel your inner introvert. Be bold, be brave, and maybe be a bit cheeky. After all, you’re there to meet people, not to inspect the decor (tempting as it may be).

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know (but also what you know)

Here’s the thing about networking – it’s not just a jolly good chance to natter away; it’s the golden opportunity to make connections that could be just the ticket for your business. But remember, it’s a two-way street. Be prepared to not only talk about your own business but also to listen. And I mean, really listen, not just nod along while planning your escape to the buffet table.

The magic of the ‘Elevator Pitch’

Ever found yourself trapped in a lift with someone you really wanted to impress but had about as much time as it takes for the lift to reach the next floor? Well, that’s what your elevator pitch is for. It’s your business in a nutshell – concise, snappy, and intriguing enough to make them think, “Cor, I need to hear more about this!”

The exhibition stand extravaganza

Now, your exhibition stand is the main focus of the party; you’ve got a prime opportunity to stand out. Think of your stand as your stage – it’s where you get to shine. But remember, you’re not putting on a West End show; you’re there to engage and connect. So make your stand inviting, make it pop, but most importantly, make it so irresistible that people can’t help but wander over for a natter.

Follow up or fizzle out

Alright, you’ve charmed the socks off everyone, your pocket is bulging with business cards, and you’re feeling like the networking ninja. Job done, right? Wrong. The real magic happens in the follow-up. Drop them a line, send them a cheeky email, maybe even a good old-fashioned thank you note. It’s all about keeping that conversation going. Don’t let those new connections go cold like yesterday’s tea.

Keep calm and carry on networking

Lastly, keep your chin up. Not every conversation will be a winner, and that’s alright. Networking is a bit like fishing; sometimes, you catch a whopper, and other times, you’re just left with a soggy old boot. But the more you do it, the better you’ll get, and before you know it, you’ll be the one everyone’s queuing up to natter with.

So there you have it, a guide to networking that hopefully hasn’t bored you to tears. Remember, it’s all about getting stuck in, being genuine, and, above all, not taking yourself too seriously.

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