How do you get the most out of networking events?
Firstly, one has to decipher the purpose of attending the event. Eight out of Ten times when the primary objective is to obtain as many sales lead as humanly possible networking becomes a regurgitated and extremely tired Sales pitch event.
So, let’s strip it back to basic.
What is the primary objective in attending such events?
The clue is in the name “Network”.
the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships (Miriam Webster Dictionary).
Networking objectives range from:
- promoting a brand/company to increase market visibility,
- attending focused/industry-specific events
- seeking collaborative opportunities with industry peers
- add new members to your own personal network.
It is for you to determine your Networking objective. There may be occasions when an event will not fulfill any objective and in that instance, you can simply choose not to attend.
Benefits of Networking Clarity
One of the many benefits of understanding and being clear on your network objective, is being selective which events to attend. Preventing you from falling victim to Networkilitus i.e. “being present at every single network event”. Yes, this does happen and occassionally at the expense of your day job, even though there is not a clear and identifiable benefit of attending. Do not fall victim to FOMO!
When attending a networking event, be clear of what your objective is and don’t fall into the trap of immediately pitching your product/services; giving the impression of someone who is just after a sale. As opposed to being perceived as someone who is engaging with others to build solid relationships.
Think about it if you were on the receiving end, who would you rather spend time talking to?
Someone who is legitimately interested in you and what you do or someone trying to get a sale?
This is not to say that a lead cannot be attained from a networking event as it most definitely can. However, this would generally happen once a relationship has been established and subsequently nurtured and off the back, a mutually beneficial transaction may occur.
Whatever the primary networking objective is, aim to remember “People buy People first” and building a solid relationship is the foundation for a productive relationship.