Networking!! This word holds a huge importance in today’s fast paced world. It is important, because in order to be successful or maintain an image in society, one needs to network and connect with people. If seen from a business point of view, Networking can be considered as a crucial ‘barometer’ for achieving success.
Business networking could be thought as a daunting task by many, because it is difficult to make people connect, where no one have time to ask or wait for other person in this hustling world. But if planned and organized effectively, the fruits could be achieved. Networking could be undertaken through socializing on internet or by holding business networking events. In my view, the latter option is more feasible, as it would be helpful in establishing long-term relationships and also where “key contacts” could be introduced. Meeting people in person results in more effective connections. Networking events could be organized by any company or individual firm owner in order to increase their client base and also to promote themselves in the business world. It could also contribute in strengthening the existing relationship with the clients.
There are certain guidelines to be considered, both for the attendees and host of the event in order to make the event successful and avail the benefits out of it.
Know your Host
This is the foremost requirement before any networking event you attend. You need to know your host and their background, in order to gain a proper understanding about them which will make your conversation easier and also will help you to know the purpose of the event. Also, it will facilitate the knowledge of environment and there are fewer chances of getting confused or lost during the event.
Keep an open mind
It is understandable that the main purpose to attend the event is to make more connections, which will in turn would be helpful for your business. But when you are new to attending this kind of events, make sure you keep your expectations to minimum. Just focus more on knowing the audience and communicating with those you meet to the maximum possible. It is important to ‘break the ice’ with the unknown people.
Learn to Identify people
It is hard to get to know people in the first meeting however, while talking you should try to identify the people which could be beneficial to you. Learn to find people who can give you business in future and try to connect to them on a more personal level. Talk to them about your business and the services you provide and it might result in a future business relationship.
Follow up after events
The entire event could be in vain, if you do not follow up with the people of interest. Make sure to carry your business cards with you and distribute them to people. Also, make a habit to take business cards from people. Try to connect to them on LinkedIn and other social networking sites. This would help you to enhance your network.
Venue of the event
The most important concern for a host is to identify the venue of the event. If it is a huge gathering, then a banquet hall could be considered. But if the attendees are close friends or the numbers of people are limited, then organizing an event in the office could be a good option. Organizing events at office could be beneficial in a way, that it allows the guests to see your office and its operations.
Make your guests comfortable
As a host of the networking event, it can be called as a foremost duty to make the attendees of the event comfortable. It should be ensured that everyone in the event is communicating and having a good time.
To collect necessary details of the guests
It should be considered, that every guest of the event should be appended to provide their contact details before leaving the venue. It could be done taking the details on one to one basis, or by circulating forms to get the necessary information. The names and other details will be useful for future reference and also will allow us to identify the potential work providers.
Follow up after event
This is the last step in the process, but could be considered as a beginning of a business relationship. The event was just a medium to meet people but the main task is to connect to the key decision makers through different means. Firstly, take their contact details and try to connect on LinkedIn. After some informal conversation, if they seem interested talk about business and arrange a coffee/lunch meeting to discuss things in a more organized manner. If followed up correctly, more business is gained which in turn will increase the goodwill and size of your network.
This was just a basic overview at business networking events. In reality, it is much deeper than mentioned but if followed in an organized manner, could really prove helpful both for the attendee and host as it would open up new doors for future business.