Successful networking starts with preparation
One key to making networking work may be doing your homework.
Julia, my “soon to be” 13-year old daughter and current CEO, neatly prepared notebooks that we’ll be giving to attendees at our upcoming networking event.
The event will have over 80 vetted and approved attendees, so we better be prepared!
As you can see, the notebooks are counted, organized, stacked and, other than being packed — ready to go. All this hard work was done, no doubt, with a lot of love and a cute Post-it note!
Anyway, the notebooks are just part of the preparation needed to insure a successful event.
For those attending the networking event, I would hope that just as much thought and love went into preparing for success.
Use these 10 steps as a checklist to prepare for your next networking event!
1. Know your specific goals.
Be specific about what you want (more business, landing a job) and what you need to accomplish. The more focused you are, the more successful you’ll be at networking.
2. Know who you need to meet.
What industry, profession, and geography are the contacts that you need to meet? What companies are they working in? Again, specifics.
3. Know who to speak with again.
Who will be at the event that you’ve met before? Do you know their names? Do you have their business cards? Are you connected with them on LinkedIn?
4. Know who will be at the event.
Who are the members of the group? Regular attendees? Board members? Who is in charge? Do you know the speaker? Who in your own network do you need to invite?
5. Know how you will start conversations.
How will you introduce yourself? What stories will you share? What questions will you ask?
6. Know what to say, ask, do.
How will you discuss what you do, what you want, and how you help your clients?
7. Know how you will help and contribute.
What can you do to potentially help those you meet at networking events?
8. Know how you will have fun and be confident.
What will you discuss that’s important, fun, will build your confidence, and engage others?
9. Know how you will follow up.
How will you follow up and follow through with those you meet? Remember, you don’t have to follow up with everyone unless you make a promise to do so.
10. Know how you will stay in touch.
Will you connect on LinkedIn? See each other regularly? Or attend the same events? Maintaining and developing important relationships is the essence to networking.
Basically, be in the Know!