Event Networking 101
Networking not your strong point? Whilst most of us have had some training in effective networking, it’s a skill that many professionals don’t feel confident about, especially those that are new to it. Here’s a quick refresher on how to get the most out of networking opportunities at your next industry event.
Check the guest list before attending
Review the guest list prior to the event (if you can get your hands on it), to identify any key people you wish to connect with. Most event organisers are happy to release the guest list upon request.
Set yourself a number of new connections to make at each event e.g. 10 people. This involves getting out of your comfort zone and moving around the event. However, if you have established a connection that could turn into an important business relationship, it’s worth spending extra time on it. Quality is better than quantity.
Nurture existing contacts
Don’t forget to nurture your existing business relationships. If you are bad at remembering faces and/or names, hop onto LinkedIn or Google for a quick refresher before attending the event. Ask to be introduced to new people by leveraging your existing contacts.
What if it’s a seated event and you’re stuck next to someone you already know?
Make sure you arrive on time to maximise any opportunities to mingle at pre-event drinks/registration. Ensure you make contact with each person at your table. Look out for any post event drinks too.
I’m sure you have heard this before, but repeat a person’s name when greeting them for the first time. This will help reinforce the name in your mind.
Have business cards on hand to give out when making new connections. This also gives a cue for you to ask for a business card in return. There are some great apps out there for this too. Check out Cardmunch which enables you to scan business cards and turn them into contacts.
Be a good listener
To create a positive experience for your connections, you should listen more than you talk. Be inquisitive, find out what other professionals are doing, how their business is faring and what their plans are. If you are not naturally gifted in the art of small talk, have a few questions prepared beforehand.
As a business that owes much of our success to building relationships and nurturing contacts, we put great emphasis on business networking. Attending industry events not only builds your professional network, it also helps support the industry you work in. The Property Council, Real Estate Institute and Urban Development Institute hold some great networking events for people in property.