Preparation is key for any activity and networking is no exception. I have compiled this useful checklist to ensure that your Networking Toolkit is packed with essentials to make your next a successful one.
1. Business Cards, Banners & Brochures: Don’t arrive with no business card! This is a networking essential! You will be surprised how often people don’t bring their business cards and then everyone is scrambling for pen and paper to get contact information. This is not professional. Bring all promotional material like pamphlets and banners (if the event allows) with you.
2. Products: If you are selling a product, bring a sample. If you are an author, bring a copy of your book. During your elevator pitch, show a sample of your product or your book. This makes a visual connection with you and your product and help make you more memorable.
3. Rehearsed Elevator Pitch: Craft a 30 second pitch that leaves an exciting, impactful and meaningful impression. Here is an example of an effective elevator pitch:
Hello, my name is ______________ from ____________(company name). I help ____________ (target audience) be/do/have ___________________ (Expertise) so that ______________________(results). I am currently looking for _____________ (product/service that you are currently looking for in your business).
4. Contact List: If the Event Organizers provide a contact list, bring it with you. Research the guests that are attending the event before you attend and connect with them on Social Media.
5. Name Tag: If the organisation does not provide name tags, bring your own.
6. Your Networking Goals: Why are you attending the event? Don’t attend an event just for the sake of it. Ensure that you have a clear understanding of why you are attending. Have a goal of making at least 3 meaningful connections.
7. Your Passion: Bring your enthusiasm for your product or service. Engage with others and encourage them to share what they are passionate about too.
8. Your Smile: Smiling puts your nerves at ease and you will come across as warm and engaging.
9. Some Great Networking Questions: Walk up to a person or group and ask, “May I join you” or “What brings you to this event?” A useful ice breaker is also to ask, “What lead you to do the work you do?”
10. Follow Up System: You should follow up no later than 48 hours after an event. We recommend a professional mailing programme to do this (MailChimp). Don’t forget to ask their permission first before adding them to your mailing list.
I trust these tips will help you at your next networking event. If you have any other tips, please share them. I would love to hear from you.