Arent we all over networking events that feel like a waste of time and a good outfit that wasn’t even photographed? Well, that is why I am all about networking with a purpose and collaboration in mind. You’re not going to networking events just to be seen or to have a filler photo for your Instagram feed. You’re there to connect with others in order to have a purposeful relationship that brings forth collaborations in the future. There are five things you must keep in mind prior to attending conferences, workshops, networking events or other gathers with your peers.
What Is Your Goal
Why are you attending this event? Honestly, since I live 45 minutes away from Austin and Waco I really need a GREAT reason for me to sit in traffic to attend the event. It cannot just be oh it’s at my favorite restaurant or I might get a cute outfit picture to share on social media later. Here are a couple questions you should ask yourself before RSVP for the event:
- What do I want to achieve by attending this event?
- How can I maximize my business growth by going?
- Do I know any others attending?
- Am I seeking to meet new people?
- What ROI will happen for yourself by going to this event?
Every event you attend you should be goal focused on achieving something. It’s easy to say you want to meet like-minded people by going, but dig deeper than that.
Questions To Ask
One of the most important things you will do outside of showing up, because hey us introverts will come up with every excuse on why not to attend. Is asking the right questions and avoiding all the wrong ones that make people give you the side eye. The number one question not to ask is “what do you do for a living.” Avoid this question at all cost, so many people use this question to size others up and deem are they worth talking to. Instead, ask others “why did they choose to attend x event”
- What was their favorite part of a particular panel or keynote?
- How long have they been in the city?
- What are they looking to gain from attending this event?
- Are they planning to attend any other events similar to this?
- How can you help them achieve their goals?
We so caught up in can this person help move me further than building genuine connections when networking.
Learn How To Serve Others
We all have goals in life that we want to achieve in life, and it is also important to help each other do the same. My goal is to help serve others when it comes to accomplishing their small business goals. One of the last questions I mentioned above was in regards to asking others how you can help them attain their goals faster. Instead of you rushing the stage to ask the keynote speaker for advice on how to scale your service business, why not ask them how can you help them further their mission. Reflect on a moment that another guest shared with you when it came to their dreams, and share a way to help them. A couple weeks ago, I had dinner with a friend and I closed it asking how could I help her right now or in the future.
It’s hard to believe there is not a course on the art of the follow-up because I believe everyone should truly learn. The ball is dropped constantly because we meet that one time at that one event several months ago and never follow up. Take the time after the event to shoot a quick message saying how great it was to connect with you. Mention a point from the conversation to help refresh the person memory. If you are wanting to set up a lunch date or something similar add options for dates and locations. This will help cut down on the back and forth emails.
Speak To Others
Coming from someone who is an extreme introvert and I have to bribe myself to attend events, it is important that you speak to others. Do not just attend these events to the only stand in the corner of the room. One of my favorite tips is to pick a color before attending the event, now everyone who has this color on I must try to connect with. The first time, I did this I picked the color blue, lol. Almost everyone had various blue on and let’s just say I failed at this.
How to network with purpose and collaboration in mind is not as hard as you might think. The first two tips are gold when it comes to connecting with others in the future. What is your best networking tip?