The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Whether you run a small sandwich shop or a national shipping company, networking events are crucial. Not only will you get the chance to mingle with other industry professionals, you can begin to form relationships that could lead to improved sales and business growth.
For new start-ups, attending a networking event can be a daunting prospect. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide of the dos and don’ts of networking events, so you can portray yourself and your company in the very best light.
Actively promote your business
The thing to remember about networking events is that the opportunities aren’t going to come to you: you need to go out there and seize them. Standing shyly in a corner may sound appealing if you are feeling nervous, but it won’t help you to get the most out of the event.
Introduce yourself to other businesses that have the potential to become partners, but don’t alienate those who are outside of your industry. You never know the opportunities that can arise from a networking event, so it is always best to cast the net wide for maximum return.
Don’t be forgotten
It goes without saying that you will be in contact with a large number of people during this event. Now, unless you have a superior memory than most, it can be difficult to keep track of all those you encounter, not to mention the endless list of emails, usernames and telephone numbers you will receive.
There are numerous apps available that can help with networking. For example, JumpScan allows you to store your contact and social media information in one digital barcode. Present it to your potential business associate and once scanned, all of your contact information will be stored in their device for them to use at a later date. It’s perfect for avoiding annoying data input!
Of course, there are other options that aren’t as technologically advanced. Ensuring you have a professional business card with all of your contact information can be an advantage. Even something as simple as a name badge can help.
As we’ve already discussed, it’s hard to remember the names of everyone you will meet. It can be rather embarrassing having to ask for a mid-conversation reminder of their name. You can prevent others from experiencing this embarrassment by wearing a clear, professional name badge. Available from Badgemaster, a badge will act as a constant reminder of your name, preventing any awkward experiences!
Be quick about contact
The final rule of networking you should abide by is to be quick about contact. As the old saying goes, strike while the iron is hot. Getting in touch with a company or individual shortly after the event not only demonstrates your keenness, but will portray you and your business in a positive light. This is, after all, what everyone hopes to gain from a networking event.