Networking event- many people, suits, “nice to meet you”, business card, big laughs, “Hi I am John”, buffet, “Hello”, drink, “Do you have a pen?” Business card, restroom, buffet again, smiling, business cards…
The next day you look at your new well-designed collection of business cards and you are still a little confused….
Networking events can be overwhelming and full on, but since you came there for a reason, then you are the one who needs to make sense to the disorder.
At each event you are surrounded by many interesting people.
Each person is a diamond and every event is like a big treasure box!
Think about it- every attendee holds different opportunities, connections and knowledge base that may benefit some others.
Of course, your own resources can also be very valuable for others.
Now it’s only about searching, “connecting the dots” and eventually focusing on fewer people who are right for you, rather than many!
Finding quality contacts
Know your “Networking Goals”
Before even arriving at any event and in order to network effectively, you better set your “networking goals”. These are the actual profiles of the key people that can help you reach your different business goals and objectives.
Once you are clear about these profiles- you will be able to detect and target the right people for you, you will be more focused at any given event and spend your time more wisely.
For example: If your business goal is to work with USA universities, then your networking goals would be focusing your networking efforts on finding key people within the universities management team, decision makers or any related professional that can help.
More is Less and Less is More!
Sometimes in order to find the right people for you it’s better to filter the people you meet with. Talk briefly with many in order to assess them. Try to understand if you are interested in continuing this conversation and stay with those who most fit your needs.
Having a rather long talk with someone about common grounds you share and other different topics will help you build stronger foundations for a possible future relationship.
BTW- It’s OK to end a conversation fast with someone who you don’t find interest with as long as it’s done with respect and a smile.
Ask for referrals
Ask people you know that are at the same event for referrals to the key people you would like to meet with. Those people who already know you and your capabilities will most likely want to help you. Feel comfortable to ask them, I am sure others would ask you for referrals as well.
Check who will attend in advance!
Thankfully technology changed the rules of the game! Today you can know in advance and / or in real time who is attending an event and can contact them on the spot! Using apps such as my favourite- Bizzabo, or Meetups, Facebook events and more will help you plan your networking actions and target to meet the right people for you!
Leave some room for “Faith”
Keep your “door” and mind open for opportunities and let people approach you and also initiate conversations with random people you find interesting. Not everything has to be about “Goals” and “needs” it’s also about fun and enjoying with the people around you.
Sometimes you will really enjoy laughing with someone new and that’s it- you had a good time! Or- this laughter may go further and you will gain a new interesting friend. You can never know the impact one person can make on your life. Sometimes the best opportunities in your personal and professional life come from the places you least expect …
It only works when it’s real!
Networking should be enjoyable as meeting new people is a discovery experience. Be open minded, positive and genuine. Please network with people you “click” with and truly feel a certain initial connection to.
We can all smell when it’s fake and in this case, it won’t last and become this flourishing mutually beneficial relationship you would like to have….
Remember- it only works when it’s real!
How do you find quality contacts at events?
Tell me your tips and stories!
Network your way to success!
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