Professional networking is an important part of being a startup and small business owner. We’ve all heard the saying – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. But let’s face it, the thought of getting out of your comfort zone and meeting new people can be very daunting. It’s completely normal to feel a little apprehensive at the prospect of attending a professional networking event, especially if you’re not an extrovert or not a big fan of small talk.
The good news is that you are not alone, almost everyone hates networking. The key is preparation – being prepared will make the event less stressful and you might even enjoy it!
Our Top Tips for Preparing of the Event
- Have a goal in mind, know what you want to achieve at the event. Having a goal will ensure you remain focused
- Dress for success – you are the face of your business so creating a good first impression is important
- Ensure you have your 30 second elevator pitch which communicates your unique selling point
At the Networking Event
- Arrive early!
- Work the room – do not stand in one spot as this will limit the number of people you meet
- Sell yourself – introduce yourself, listen for their name and share your 30 second elevator pitch
- Ask for contact details – ask the people you meet for a business card or connect with them on Linkedin or other social platforms
Post the Event
- Follow up the people you met, even with just a simple message on Linkedin, start building a rapport with them.
Good luck, just remember nearly everyone hates networking so you are definitely not alone.