How to Get the Most Out of a Business Networking Event

Networking can be terrifying if you’ve never done it before – and even if you have, nerves are not uncommon. Few of us are naturally able to sell ourselves effectively to strangers in a matter of minutes or seconds, but it is a vital skill for growing and developing a business in any field and of any size.

But, fear not – help is at hand. There are some key things you can do both in preparation and on the day that will ensure not only that you don’t spend the whole event either on the sidelines or desperately wishing that you were elsewhere, but learn to make the most of the opportunity and promote your business effectively.

Meeting Rooms conference

The first, and arguably most important thing, is to find the right business networking event for you. Whether you are there on behalf of your employer or your own company, whether you’re looking for local or national contracts, whether you’re a one-man band or freelancing around school hours are all types of things you should consider when looking for the best target audience for your sales pitch.

Networking groups are springing up all over the place at the moment, and some time invested in researching what types of people attend and what the geographical reach or specialities generally are will serve you well in the long term. While there are some organisations that charge, with structured meetings and a set number of leads promised per month etc, there are others that are much less formal as well as women-only groups.

That hurdle crossed, your thoughts should shift to how you will sell yourself to the potential clients you meet. It goes without saying you should dress smartly, and have up-to-date business cards that clearly sum up what you do and how you can be contacted.

You should also have a brief sales pitch ready – you can guarantee that you’ll be asked who you are and what you do, so there is no excuse not to have this prepared. Consider either practising in the mirror or role playing with a friend – a two or three sentence summary of what you do or offer may take a while to hone, but it will be invaluable once you start meeting others.

Lastly, on the day stay friendly, smile and be approachable. Don’t be afraid to start conversations with strangers – that’s what everyone is there for, and you’re unlikely to be the only one who doesn’t know anyone and is nervous. Everyone’s in the same boat, so dive in. You really don’t have anything to lose.

This article was provided by Meeting Four You, who offers meetings rooms and conference venues in and around Oxford.

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