Networking is a powerful tool for growing your business and expanding your professional reach. Unless you’re regularly engaging with the networking community in your area, you may be missing out on business opportunities. Professional networking events are an ideal way to accomplish many of your business goals at once — establishing a professional community, building up your professional skills, tapping into your local exchange of business information, and growing your business. If you haven’t been to an event before, it can help to know what to expect from a professional networking group. Once you’ve found a group or events you want to attend, here’s how you can prepare.
Before attending a professional networking event, you’ll need to prepare any materials you might need. Many of the materials you’ll want to have ready are things you likely already have. You’ll want a professional email, website, or LinkedIn account ready to share with interested connections. Typically, that information is shared easily with a business card. If you don’t have business cards ready and don’t have time to order a new batch, you can print your own small flyers or business cards with your information. Without sharable materials, you’ll have to scribble out your contact information for every interested connection, which can be time-consuming and may seem unprofessional.
A typical part of networking, particularly when you first start attending a regular event, is introducing yourself to other professionals. This may include a short overview of your career experience, your current company or job, or what you’re looking for from professional networking. While the answers to some of these prompts may seem easy, it can help you feel prepared for meeting new people to practice aloud. You don’t need to follow a script or have anything memorized before your event, but practicing beforehand can help you remember the main points you want to include. Feeling confident in your delivery can help you make a good first impression at networking events.
Networking is a process that takes time. Whether you’re looking to establish connections with other professionals in your area or learn something new about your industry, you’ll need to find regular networking opportunities to get the most out of your efforts. Networking can be an effective way to grow your business, find new opportunities, and meet interesting people in your area. But like any relationship, it takes regular effort and interest to form lasting professional connections that can really have an impact. Look for events and groups you can incorporate into your weekly or monthly schedule with regularity. The more often you go, the more likely you are to see results.
4BR has reliable networking groups across a variety of locations. Our groups are focused on professional development and building referral relationships that help you grow your business. There are a number of benefits of joining 4BR’s extensive network of professionals. To get started with 4BR, look for a group in your area and then fill out a membership application.