Does the very thought of attending a Networking Event send chills down your spine. Do you break out in a cold sweat thinking about a crowded room full of strangers? You’re not alone.
For some people, the idea of entering a room of strangers and making small talk is up there with having a root canal or spending a weekend with the in-laws. However, it can be a great way to meet new people as well as a way to broaden you sphere of influence.
Has your fear stopped you from attending these types of events, it might just be time to gather up all of your courage and try one out. If you have never attended one, try not to worry, everyone else there is probably just as nervous as you. Just relax and prepare for a great experience by following a few simple tips.
- Ask around, see where your friends are going, check on Facebook :Find the networking events that sound interesting to you.
Make sure you’re going to an event that’s likely to help your business in some way. Attending on a regular basis is the best option, in order to create an ongoing impression. Keep an eye out for any major industry trade events that may offer free entrance for the day without having to pay for a full conference entry.2. Prepare: Create a compelling “elevator pitch”
Be prepared to tell someone what your business does and why it matters in 30 seconds or less. Even better? Figure out a 10-second overview that makes someone want to ask more about it. And Practice, that way when nerves overtake you, your brain will go on autopilot.
Know your business “unique selling point,” own it, and be prepared to explain it again and again.
3. Create a lasting connection
First, remember it’s not a sales pitch or a sales event. This is about creating connections with other small business leaders and the larger business ecosystem and network.
That said, if you feel that you’ve had a great conversation, never hesitate to drop that person a quick, professional email and if they indicated interest, do end that note with a call to action – whether that’s a visit to your website, a trial of a product, or even an interesting article in the press about a topic you discussed.
Remember that it’s not just about selling people on your products or services. It’s about making those connections and getting your face out there, so that when someone is looking for what you have to offer, people will remember you and refer you.
Finally, remember that each and every small business networking event offers a great opportunity to actually meet, face-to-face, those people that may become useful in one way or another to your business. It’s a great way to put a face to a business and build the like, know and trust factor.
Remember, be professional, but also try to have some fun, and if it’s an evening network event, drink soft drinks or soda water. It’s not the time to get tipsy.