“People = profit! The most lucrative business skill you can cultivate has to be
building and leveraging powerful networks.”

Rob Brown

Networking events can be fantastic opportunities for business building. Whether that means breakfast meetings, business lunches, tradeshows, conferences, exhibitions, expos or awards dinners, you have an array of business related events at your disposal.

Gone are the days where networking was the sole domain of the rich gold paying gentlemen who were exclusive members of private clubs and elite networks. These days most people can network many times over in most towns and cities. And if you can’t find the networks you’re looking for, it’s easier than ever to start your own.

Networking gives you the opportunity to make connections with new people, stay connected to people you already know and develop your social and business skills. It is also a high impact way to raise your profile and get on the radars of the influential people in your industry.

The problem is that attending business and social events does not come easy for most people. Yet it chews up your very valuable time. And remember, you don’t get paid for networking; you get paid on the results of your networking!

So how do you make sure that networking does what you want it to do? By ‘working the room’. This means getting to meet a decent amount of people and making a decent amount of good connections.

In the first of 3 blog posts, let’s explore what you can do before you even go networking to ensure that when you end up ‘in the room’, you can make it the most profitable and productive experience. 

Networking Success – What To Do Before The Event

Here are six powerful tips to help you get the best from every networking situation you walk into. As with most things, a little preparation now will not only help you avoid a world of pain, frustration or anxiety, but will actually increase your chances of creating some opportunities to do business or enhance your career prospects.

  1. Choose the Right Event

    You want to be sure that you are going somewhere where the people you meet are the right contacts for building your profile and your business. Check this thoroughly before booking. Talk to the organisers. Check out the event online. Chat to some people you know have been before. Do your research. 
  1. Learn Some Scripts

    As I always say, the worst time to think of what to say is as the words are coming out of your mouth. If you have some great questions already lined up, you won’t be stuck for words when the conversation drags after ‘What’s your name?’ and ‘What do you do?’ Just think about what type of people will be at the event and what might interest them, and think up a few relevant questions to ask. 
  1. Bring Your Business Cards

    What’s the point in having business cards if you forget to bring them? Nowhere are your business cards more needed than at a networking event. And it looks pretty third rate to be hunting for something to write your phone number on when someone asks for your contact details. Get them printed and ready. Your card is often all that’s left of you when you leave a networking conversation. 
  1. Wear Clothes with Pockets

    Sounds basic but people forget! Whether it’s a jacket or a shirt with pockets, make sure you wear something that makes it easy to store and pull out your business cards. It beats getting them out of your wallet or digging into your briefcase every time you’re asked. 
  1. Consider Eating Before You Go

    Sometimes networking requires three hands – one for your drink, one for your food and one for shaking hands. It’s hard to juggle all of this at the same time. If you don’t need to eat, you won’t be hampered by food in your mouth when you are trying to make conversation. Plus if you’re a little nervous, then not eating while you’re there makes good sense. 
  1. Arrive Early

    It’s surprising what a difference arriving early can make. ‘Isn’t getting there on time enough?’ I hear you ask. Not always. First of all, nine times out of ten, you can’t calculate exactly how long it’s going to take to travel somewhere, so if you end up rushing to make it on time you’ll probably arrive stressed. Secondly, if you do arrive late, you might be even more stressed! This isn’t the best state of mind for networking.

So there you have six powerful tips to help you become a more confident, effective networker. The thing to take away from this is that the world’s best networkers do their homework and arrive prepared. They are ready for a variety of situations, conversations and outcomes. And the good news for all of us is that these skills are coachable. Follow these tips above and you’ll soon start feeling much more confident and effective in a range of networking environments.

Be sure to check out Networking Tips – How to Work a Room (Part 2) here where you’ll discover some really useful advice on what to do once you enter a room. It’s all about making an impact, mastering your emotions and staying confident. For now, get lots of useful tips, hints and strategies to build and leverage powerful connections with a free lifetime subscription to the Networking Coaching Academy. It’s the world’s #1 business networking training platform and can definitely help you achieve your business and career goals if they involve people.

Click here and hit the big green GET STARTED HERE button to get your special username and password. You can then access 100+ videos, 72+ expert interviews and some great resources to make you a more accomplished business networker and connector.

Rob Brown

Rob Brown bestselling author of 'How to Build Your Reputation' and according to LinkedIn is the world's most recommended networking expert. He is founder and CEO of the Networking Coaching Academy, the world's #1 business networking and referrals training platform.

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