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How To Prepare for a Networking Event - 12 Best Tips For 2023
Did you know that business professionals who dedicated 6.3 hours per week to networking activities said it played a crucial role in their success?
Furthermore, 85% of job vacancies are filled due to networking.
So regardless of what stage you’re at in your career, networking remains a formidable ally in advancing your career.
However, most people don’t feel comfortable networking because they feel overwhelmed at the mere thought of attending a networking event.
In addition, they are unsure how to connect with others in their industry and what approach to use.
If that’s the case with you too, you’re in the right place.
We'll share the best tips and tricks on how to prepare for a networking event.
From doing research beforehand, perfecting your elevator pitch to following up, our strategies will set you up for success and make sure that every connection counts.
Let’s get started!
Why You Should Attend Networking Events?
Attending networking events enables you to:
✨ meet new people and expand your network,
✨ learn about upcoming trends and developments in your industry,
✨ share your own expertise with others,
✨ get practice in networking and developing relationships, and
✨ find a new job or business opportunity.
Thus, if you're looking to build your professional network and connect with like-minded individuals, attending networking events is a great way to do so.
But let’s get practical and see how to prepare for a networking event with these 12 best tips!
12 Best Tips on How To Prepare for a Networking Event
In order to prep you fully for a networking event, we’ll group the tips into three categories:
- Tips on how to prepare before a networking event
- Tips on what to do during the event, and
- Tips on what to do after the networking event.
How To Prepare Before a Networking Event
Preparation before the event is the most important part because it allows you to check all the info regarding the event, speakers, and attendees in more detail.
Furthermore, it gives you time to think of the best way to present yourself while staying genuine instead of having a cookie-cutter approach.
So, let’s see which steps you should consider.
1. Do Research Beforehand
Before you attend a networking event, take some time to research who will attend the event.
Most of the time, you’ll get a list of speakers and attendees which will help you identify any potential connections or leads you may want to follow up with after the event.
2. Prepare Your Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a brief overview of who you are, what you do, or what your current project is.
By preparing your elevator pitch in advance, you’ll feel less stressed and anxious when introducing yourself.
Note: Preparing an elevator pitch doesn’t mean learning it by heart. It should be a mere guideline to help you stay focused and provide relevant information about yourself in the shortest period of time.
3. Think of Conversation Starters
Apart from doing the research and preparing an elevator pitch, think of conversation starters that act as ice-breakers.
This is why it is important to do research beforehand to see what the topics will be.
Thus, brainstorm the topic or aspects you find interesting and use them to spark conversation.
Of course, make sure to include the other people in your conversation by asking their thoughts on the subject.
4. Update Your Social Media and Networking Accounts
Before joining a networking event, updating your social media and networking accounts is a smart move.
Browse through all the info to see if they are still relevant, and if necessary, update them with the new info.
In addition, you can include recent important projects, accomplishments, etc., and everything you find important for the upcoming event.
Just as you’ll be checking other attendees, they will be checking you, too.
ProTip: If you use digital business cards, such as Tapni, you can share your profile instantly, with all the necessary information, website links, social media links, etc., in one place. Another perk is that the other person doesn’t need to have a Tapni profile to receive your information. They just need to scan your card or the QR code on it.
5. Prepare Business Cards
Traditional business cards may seem like a thing of the past, but they remain one of the most effective networking assets.
When designed well, they represent you and your company in a professional way and are great indicators of who you are.
A great alternative to traditional paper business cards are digital business cards.
They allow you to easily update your info countless times without having to print a new batch every time.
Speaking of time and money saving, right?
In addition, digital business cards hold much more information than traditional cards, giving you an opportunity to include more relevant info, including social media links, etc.
Another great perk is that you can easily share and exchange them by scanning or tapping.
In addition, the other person doesn’t need to have the app to receive your info: a simple scanning of your card will do.
The above tips should make you feel more confident to step into the room or join a virtual networking event and be ready for the event itself.
5 Tips on What To Do During The Event
The day of the event has come, and it’s time to put the above tips into practice.
They are great to ease the tension and get you started, but we have a few more tips on how to nail your networking during the event.
1. Introduce Yourself Properly
Nerve-wracking as it may be, speak clearly and confidently, and say your first and last name followed by a firm handshake.
In addition, if you want to approach someone important or someone you admire, approach them as an equal rather than as a fan.
Don’t just praise their work, but ask something thought-provoking about the topic they can relate to or their opinion about it.
For example, you can present a challenge that your company is facing, and relevant to their area of expertise, and ask for advice.
Note: It’s common to immediately forget the name of a person when you meet them. To avoid this, use their name a few times while addressing them.
Not only will you remember their name, but you will also come across as genuinely interested in having a conversation.
2. Listen First, Speak Later
The last thing you want to achieve is to come across as too dominant and self-absorbed. That’s why you should listen first.
In other words, ask questions, listen to their replies, and follow up with further questions. It will relax the person you’re talking to, and it will show you are genuinely interested in what they are saying.
And if you worry about how you can network if other person talks more about themselves, there’s no need to.
You showing interest and letting the other person speak first should result in the person asking you questions back.
If that doesn’t happen, then you’ll know it wasn’t a valuable connection after all.
3. Be Succinct
You’re at a networking event, so you should mingle and talk to more than one person. Dedicate some time to each person you talk to, then move on.
Initially, exchange info such as the work you do or your latest project, and steer away from industry jargon unless a person is within your industry.
In order to network and build business relationships want people to understand what you actually do.
In a nutshell, get to the point quickly so you can meet more people that can turn into meaningful connections.
But how do you leave a conversation politely? Well, that brings us to our next tip.
4. Keep Notes
It might sound strange, but you should keep notes about new connections you find valuable: just a few bullet points of why they are relevant and why you want to follow up.
In the past, you’d do it on the back of a person’s business card. Luckily, there is an easier way now due to digital business cards.
Once you’ve exchanged digital business cards, you’ll immediately have all the relevant info and a picture of a person, which will serve as a powerful reminder.
Of course, you can still add a line or two in your personal digital notes, but in either case, having a digital business card makes it more efficient.
5. Leave a Conversation Politely
There may be a few awkward moments during a networking event, but leaving a conversation politely might be your last obstacle in making a great first impression.
Of course, how you’ll finish your conversation will depend on whether you want to stay in touch with the person or just respectfully move on to another possible contact.
Here are a few examples that cover more than one scenario.
It looks like you’ve made it through a networking event.
But before you breathe a sigh of relief, don’t forget that all your hard work and preparation can be in vain unless you do the follow-up.
2 Tips on What to Do After The Event
One of the biggest networking mistakes you can make is to remain passive after the networking event.
The real work begins when the event is over, and you must follow up with all the people you’ve met.
So, I probably can't emphasize this enough, but follow up, follow up, follow up.
1. Do the Follow-Up
You should send a personalized email or LinkedIn message to people you connected with at the event.
What’s more, the optimal time slot to do it is within 24 hours after meeting them.
Don't forget to mention something specific that you talked about to make it more personal.
This is where digital business cards come in handy again because they provide multiple ways of contacting a person.
What’s also useful to remember: if you promised someone you would send them additional information, make sure to do that as soon as possible.
Along the same lines, follow up with any leads or referrals you received at the networking event.
2. Manage the Contacts You Made
Whether it's using a CRM or a simple spreadsheet, you can always export their information and organize it in a way that works for you.
Make sure to keep track of important details from your notes and email/LinkedIn exchanges in one place.
Categorize your contacts based on industry, location, job title, or the nature of your interaction.
Prioritize the contacts that will bring you the most value and have made a great impression on you.
By managing your contacts, you can turn a brief encounter at a networking event into a valuable long-term business relationship instead of it withering away a few days after the event.
3. Attend Networking Events Regularly
The more regularly you attend networking events, the more confident you’ll get over time and become more successful in it.
In addition, if people keep seeing you at networking events, you’ll become a familiar face, making you more approachable and accessible to talk to.
Not to mention that your credibility within your industry will grow.
Before we wrap things up, let’s summarize the main dos and don’ts of proper networking.
How To Prepare for a Networking Event - Dos and Don’ts
When it comes to networking events, there are a few key things to keep in mind in order to make the most out of them.
Prepare beforehand & come up with conversation starters.
Don’t come unprepared.
Update your social media and networking accounts.
Don’t be late for the event.
Prepare your business cards.
Don’t dominate the conversation.
Don’t drag on the conversation for too long.
Get to the point quickly.
Don’t wait for others to contact you after the event.
Leave a conversation politely.
Networking events can be a great way to increase your professional network and make valuable connections.
With the proper preparation, you'll have no trouble making the most of any networking event you attend this year.
Furthermore, we hope our tips will help you feel more confident walking into any room full of new faces and leave it with plenty of promising leads to follow up on.
And one of the most efficient ways to do that is to use digital business cards, such as Tapni.
Thus, you can send your digital business cards in three simple ways:
- by tapping on the smartphone,
- by scanning a QR code on the card, or
- by scanning the QR code within the app.
No more carrying a bunch of paper business cards that you’ll eventually throw away. With Tapni, you can keep all your contacts in one place.
So what else can you do with Tapni?
- Measure ROI at events and get valuable insight
- Automate lead generation and send leads to your CRM, and
- Much more.
Interested in giving it a go?
Create your Tapni digital business card today and start building those valuable business relationships.
1. What are 5 Steps to Successful Networking?
The 5 main steps to successful networking are to do research before the event, prepare your elevator pitch, prepare your business cards, listen first at the event, and do the follow-up.
2. What Should I bring to a Networking Event?
First and foremost, you should bring business cards, followed by a list of good questions and conversation starters as a guideline, paper and a pen for taking notes, unless you take them digitally, and a smile and a positive attitude.
3. What Shouldn’t I do at a Networking Event?
You shouldn’t arrive late at a networking event. Neither should you come unprepared or without business cards that you can exchange. Furthermore, you shouldn’t be too dominant while talking or dragging on a conversation for too long.
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