One of the oldest and most beneficial aspects of business, in person networking, is often thought to be “old school” or not necessary, and that couldn’t be more incorrect. If anything, networking in person is more important today because we are all disconnected in real life thanks to technology.
The Millennial generation might be good at sliding into DMs and chatting on LinkedIn, but there are still many reasons why you should be hitting as many in person networking events that you can.
It’s still a setting that creates business relationships and contributes to your personal network. So, if you are up for some “old school” communication, here are some must-dos to be successful.
Have Business Cards
There are some people that feel as if their cell phone is their business card and they will ask for someone’s number and shoot them a test containing their virtual card. Sure, it’s easy and effective but there is still nothing more impactful than handing someone your card.
“Business cards are still, to this day, a must-have networking tools,” explains Henk Schipper of Jaloezieen Fabriek. “There are many advanced card materials and designs you can use to really stand out.”
Have Your ‘Pitch’ Dialed
When you meet someone you have a few seconds to get their attention and hook them. So, what will you say when you meet someone cold? You need to have a “pitch” in your mind that you can then tweak on the fly depending on who you are speaking with.
Not having this planned in advance will leave you scrambling and fumbling to make conversation. That is not an effective strategy.
Have Something of Value to Give in Return
The best way to get what you want is to give something first. You should already have an idea of who you want to speak with before the event. Figure out what you can offer in terms of value to these people.
What can you offer in terms of value-add to the people you are meeting? Can you explain outsourcing benefits? Are you a social media marketing expert? Determine what kind of value you can provide to those that you see as great contacts.
They are going to be more open to connecting with you if you lead with this approach and in the end it will help you get what you are ultimately after.
Be Organized and Prepared
Networking can be a grind, especially if you are flying in for an event. You never know when the airline is going to lose one of your suitcases, so be sure to wear good networking clothes just incase or put a change of clothes in your carry-on.
Have notes about the event. Check the website of listing before you go. Connect with the event organizers weeks prior and see if you can determine who will be attending based on who they are tweeting or messaging on Facebook.
Whatever you can do to be better prepared, the more value you are going to leave the event with. If you suffer from anxiety and you feel nervous at networking events, try these products. They are designed to help reduce stress and anxiety.