What usually comes to mind when you hear “networking event”? The majority of people will back away at the thought of being stuck in a room full of strangers. However, networking doesn’t have to be a terrifying experience, you just need to alter your mindset and be prepared before attending the event.
I attended my first networking event in Melbourne last week. For me, the purpose of this event was to get Project Resource Partner’s name out there and introduce both myself and the company and what we can offer to clients and candidates. Before I attended the event, I had to remind myself to be open minded; if you attend a networking event and don’t meet potential clients or candidates, don’t stress, because in a city like Melbourne, it’s all about building long standing relationships.
Below are some tips on how to prepare and make networking events worthwhile:
1. Dress professionally
Even if your work environment allows a casual dress code, I would dress professionally for a networking event. First impressions last and you definitely want to look professional and put-together if you are meeting potential business partners. You want to put your best foot forward and be a great representation of your company.
2. Bring business cards
This might be an obvious tip prior to attending a networking event, but I met quite a few people at the this event who did not bring a business card and asked to write their details on the back of mine. Always carry a few business cards with you no matter where you go, you never know who you may meet. If the above fails, exchange phone numbers, connect on LinkedIn or send an email to each other – you want to make sure there’s an easy way to communicate with them after the event.
3. Be yourself
I can’t emphasise how important this is. People will attend networking events and put on a show and be a real salesperson. Unfortunately, this does not come across as being genuine and people will not want to connect with you, both on a professional and personal level. So just be yourself and let the conversation flow. Also, don’t forget to smile!
4. Prepare your elevator pitch
You want to sound prepared and knowledgeable about your business, while not sounding too rehearsed. Before the event, do a bit of research on the attendees (if you can) to know how to tailor your pitch accordingly and practice it a few times. You shouldn’t exceed more than two minutes; even after about 30 seconds you may lose your audience.
5. Don’t forget to follow up
Follow up with the people you have met at the networking event the next day because you want them to remember you! As mentioned previously, be open minded. Even if the people you meet aren’t a fit for your business, you never know who they can introduce you to.
Attending networking events doesn’t have to be a bad experience. Just be prepared, open minded, and attend them whenever you can.
If you would like to know more about the education industry, are looking for new opportunities or would like assistance with project resourcing, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Project Resource Partners
Level 29, 360 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
T +61 3 9949 8100 D +61 3 9949 8169