Ten tips on attending speed Networking events
- Be early – avoid feeling rushed or late or apologising. Get in to the room and get comfortable with your surroundings. Use the bathroom if you think you may need it. Check emails and avoid having any mental distractions for a while.
- Be prepared – bring your business cards, look smart, smell fresh, know what you want to achieve. Why are you attending? What do you want to get out of the event? Have a few lines of introduction ready to deliver smoothly. Practice your short pitch, so that you can deliver it clearly and concisely.
- Relax – Avoid guzzling the caffeine, as it will not make you any more relaxed. Have some water. Breathe easy, deep breaths and try to relax. Be aware of how you feel, so that you can focus on and enjoy the moment. If you are hyped, slow down and avoid talking too much.
- Attitude – Be a Farmer not a Hunter. You are not there to sell, you are there to connect. You will have probably 90 seconds to connect, it is not time enough to sell, but it is plenty of time to put people off you. And you can expect that many people in the room are felling decidedly uncomfortable, so they are very wary of any attempted selling.
- Swop business cards and take notes, so that you can follow up later. You can always arrange to meet anyone that seems like a good connection for you. This is not even a first date, this is just a momentary introduction, so show some respect.
- Listen – listen, listen – even though you have 90 seconds each way, you will learn a lot more from listening than you will by talking. You already know what is in your head, so focus on finding out what is in the other persons head.
- Wrap up – after swopping business cards, you may spot the potential for a useful further meeting, so make a date there and then – get the phone calendar out.
- Or you may spot the potential to refer business to someone. You can widen your own personal network, by adding value to others, who may possibly in turn refer to you. Do not wait for a referral before thinking about other people, make a point of being the first mover.
- Follow up on any promises to email, call or make an introduction. Do it quickly. Make any social connections, Linkedin or Facebook etc.
- Have fun – enjoy your time mixing. It is not a test, it is socialising, and a great way to do some market research or get feedback from potential clients or referrers. Be prepared to spend some time mingling after the formalities of the event have all finished. People relax more at this point.
Before you get started in the event and after it finishes, you will also have the opportunity to mingle, so do talk to people or rather listen to them, You can get to meet as many people before or after the main event, as you do during it. Again, have a few lines ready for when you are mingling, even How did you hear about this event? or Have you been to this sort of event before? or Do you know how this all works? nothing too deep or complicated. And avoid getting in to a huddle with someone you know, this is about making new contacts rather than chatting with acquaintances.