If you think that networking is only for large corporation heads and key decision makers of the companies with millions of dollars in profit, you should rethink it. Networking is for everyone! As a matter of fact, you are doing it already! You are looking for someone to check your AC unit or a kitchen sink and your friend gives you a recommendation — networking. If you are talking to your banker about your business and he/she suggests a client of theirs to help you — that is it, again! If you are sitting at the bar and started talking to a stranger about what they do for a living — you are doing it.
You got that right, you don’t even have to attend big conferences to become good at talking to people. Networking is much closer than you think. Now let’s find out how to approach this subject with awareness and mindfulness. It is clear that networking for business is more complex and can get stressful, especially for the newbie, so make sure you read our Basics of Networking series (link to the article).
These 10 steps will set you up for success in finding and attending networking events in your area.
- Google search for “business networking events near me app” or “where to network for business” or use 100AM nearby events. Understand what your area has to offer. You will be surprised how many options of the networking events you have nearby. There are aggregator portals like Eventbrite.com or Meetup.com that allow organizers to register their event, sell tickets (if applicable) and sign-up guests. They allow you to see a variety of activities in your area and conveniently join them.
- Pin down a few networking companies and follow them on social media to keep up with updates and receive event alert regularly.
- It is also a good idea to join business networking groups near me on Facebook — on-line networking allows finding like-minded and relevant people despite their location.
- With an event networking app like 100AM you can zip through the first 2 steps as the information about the trending events is available on your smartphone. Be ahead of network technology!
- Narrow down your objectives. Are you looking for partners, vendors or clients during networking events? Are you looking to brush up on your skills or learn new tips of the trade? Or, maybe, you are in the mood of a quality social event with the touch of business. There are all kinds of events out there. Find yours.
- Read the description and act accordingly. Make sure you understand the type of the event, dress code, drink/food rules and thematic to avoid uncomfortable situations.
- Grab plenty of business card or a handy business card scanner to quickly exchange contact information and impress your interlocutor. In fact, 100AM app equipped with a free business card scanner for iOS and Android.
- Enjoy yourself at the event. Be open, approachable and have fun. More on that HERE
- Make sure you save all the contacts you have gathered and follow up on the things you have discussed. Use apps like 100AM to save the notes you took at the meeting.
Some of the events are free to attend, some require a nominal fee to cover for food and/or organizational cost. Consider it as an investment in your networking future. Based on my personal experience, all the knowledge that I have gained by attending local trade and networking events nearby came extremely handy when I was representing my company at an international trade show with thousands of participants. Are you still reading this? Go out there and network!