How To Prepare For A Networking Event

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Have you ever gone to a networking event and saw someone who seemed completely out of place? It’s okay if that person was you… We’re about to give you tips on how to take the awkwardness out of your next networking opportunity. There are a few easy things you can do to get the most from every networking situation. The difference is in the preparation.

Here’s how to prepare for a networking event

  • Set goals. Before you go, clarify what it is you want and need and the type of opportunities you are looking for.  -KC Christensen-Lang, Coaching for Top Leaders

  • Work on your introduction. Prepare a 30 second story to share that provides an interesting fact about your business, the event or yourself. Stories are much better to open up with to a stranger than a self gleaming pitch about your company. -Ebony T. Grimsley, Above Promotions

  • Get informed. Take an extra few minutes the day of the event to get caught up on current events, headlines, movies or books so you can insert yourself into conversations that might be happening on these topics or stock pile yourself with something to talk about. -Shannon Myers, Walton Search

  • Dress the part. Make sure you are current in your clothing, your shoes are spotless, your hair is done, men and women, a bit of makeup for women. Attractive people are magnets. Use an iron, make sure those shirts are pressed! If you are a confident person, dressed impeccably, and smile you will definitely be someone people want to meet. AND never ever go to a networking event without business cards! -Jane Ulrich, Jane Ulrich & Associates

  • Do your research. In addition to social networking sites where formal and informal resumes are standard, there is always Google, which may be used to track a person via the media, their professional portfolios, and their conversations. The goal for researching is to target individuals whose vision, mission, short or long-term goals align with yours. Being able to complement their efforts is one way to leave a lasting impression plus garner a call back. -Isha Edwards, Epic Measures

  • Use Linkedin. If you know some of the people who will be at the networking event, look them up on LinkedIn and learn more about them. Find the groups they belong to, their interests, their past work experience. And use that to start a conversation. -Janet Neal, Above & Beyond, Inc.

  • Consider the speaker. Be knowledgeable about them, look them up beforehand. Offer to pick them up from the airport, bring them something, offer to show them around after the event etc. -Stephanie Staples, Your Life Unlimited

  • Identify prospects. Try to obtain who the major sponsors, celebrities and potential clients are beforehand. Then once you know that, find out if they already utilize a business that offer your services. If not, finally understand where their company is at in the marketplace and know how to tie their position to services that you offer. From your research you should have a good indication of who you will want to spend time talking to at the event. -Ebony T. Grimsley, Above Promotions

  • Eat before you go to an event. You are not there to stuff your face, you are there to network and it is impolite to have food in one hand and a glass of wine in another. How do you meet people like that? It’s very hard to juggle food and drinks when networking. Eat before you go. -Jane Ulrich, Jane Ulrich & Associates

  • Ready to network? Now that you know how to prepare for a networking event, get out there and start making connections.

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