How to Prepare for A Networking Event: 5 Quick Tips
These tips are simple and efficient, but they are guaranteed to help!
Firstly, standing in a room full of strangers knowing you have to make a good impression for potential future opportunities sounds as daunting as a first date! (Side note – it won’t help to “imagine everybody naked” to calm your nerves…)
The lead-up to the networking event can be the most nerve-wracking stage. Your mind will play tricks on you and thoughts like this might creep up on you, “What if nobody speaks to me” or “I don’t want to make myself look stupid” maybe even “I do NOT want to go!”
We asked our Event Sales Coordinator, Gemma Cripps, who attended her first networking event, at the C&IT International Forum in Madrid, for essential and important pre-networking tips to help your event feel less overwhelming.
Networking Tip #1: Connect on LinkedIn before!
Who remembers their first day at school? Wandering around the playground aimlessly and hoping your new best friend approaches you before lunchtime. Well, luckily for us, those days are no more!
The socially awkward, old fashioned, approach of walking up to a stranger and starting a conversation has never been easier than today. This is a big thanks to the shiny gadgets in our hands. With the help of professional networking platforms, such as LinkedIn.
If you have information about who is attending the networking event then don’t be shy and connect with them via LinkedIn! If you do not have access to this information then use the hashtag of the event and get involved in the thread!
This will smooth over that initial awkward “Hello, hi – how are you – my name is…” stage. Connecting and having a conversation with attendees prior to the event will put you at ease and boost your confidence, so if you haven’t already, get yourself a LinkedIn account.
Networking Tip #2: Understand what content is covered
The unknown is always a little uneasy. That’s why answering some of your own questions will reduce any built-up anxiety.
Taking a look at the event itinerary beforehand will help you understand what’s in store and when it will be taking place. If you feel like you do not have enough knowledge on some of the content included this will give you plenty of time to research and understand the subject.
A quick and easy tip would be to write yourself a list of questions before the event. Below is an example of questions you might want to consider:
- What do I want from this event?
- How can this benefit me/company?
- Who do I want to connect with?
- What are my main goals/aims from this attending this networking event?
These questions might be requested by your company, so it is important you know the answers.
Networking Tip #3: Research the location and venue
It is always nice to have peace of mind before any event – that’s why it helps to research the location before you attend. Not only does this mean you can plan your journey if you are making your own way there, it means you have an understanding of what your surroundings will look like, therefore putting you at ease.
If the venue is abroad then, most likely, travel plans have been arranged by event organisers. However, even then it would be worth researching the local area to see what you can do in your free time and of course, make conversation about the local area!
Networking Tip #4: Socialise with the organisers
It is important to socialise with the organisers of the networking event on their social media platforms. This will help form and build relationships and this will lead to potential invitations for future events.
This is also a great way to represent your company in a positive light. It will show the organisers that you have a genuine interest in their event!
Networking Tip #5: everyone is human – keep it genuine!
Last but not least! Remember humans are not aliens! Everyone is in the same position. Nobody is going to bite you if you try and talk to them (if that is the case – you are extremely unlucky!) You will find some people are easier to talk to than others and that is also fine – each interaction allows you to learn and grow from the experience.
Remember – step outside of your comfort zone and you will be pleasantly surprised!
If you have any questions or need some help planning an event! Please contact the team at Julia Charles Event Management on 01908 969 322 and find out how we can help you. Alternatively, you can Contact Us here.