With so many business networking events out there, it can take some digging to find events or groups that fit your needs. We’ve talked about using online resources to find networking events near you, but how do you distinguish between the events you find to figure out what event is best for you? And once you’ve decided on a group or event, how can you prepare? Doing some research before your first business networking event can help you feel prepared to meet other professionals and give you an idea of what to expect.
Oftentimes, networking groups or events will include information about who will be attending the event. On sites like Meetup, you can see who will be attending from the events page. If you’re looking at networking groups, check for a membership page or attendee list. Having an idea of who will be at an event can provide information about what industries or fields will be represented, what people from local companies have signed up, and who will be leading the event. This research can be valuable if you’re looking to connect with certain companies or industries in your area.
When researching business networking events, an important component to consider is how often they occur. Like building any relationship, establishing your business network takes repeated interactions. Business networking events tend to fall into two broad categories: one-time events (think conferences, a visiting lecturer, or an occasional meeting) or regular, recurring events (business networking groups or monthly events). As you’re researching, consider which events in both categories can help you reach your business goals. A regular and reliable networking group can offer you continual opportunities to form connections with other professionals. While a one-time event can offer insight or education in your field.
After you’ve decided on which group or events suits your networking needs, it’s time to prepare for your networking debut. Remember, connections don’t happen overnight, which means that you’ll need to continue networking and interacting with the professionals you meet to form long-lasting relationships. Go into your first business networking event with an open mind, ready to meet whatever professionals spark your interest or offer their own interest in your skills and experience.
When someone does ask about your business, experience, or industry, you should be prepared with an answer. You don’t need to go overboard in your preparations here. Work on your elevator pitch to share a short synopsis of your experience or business. And don’t forget to bring business cards with your name and contact information to share.
Doing your research before attending your first business networking event can help you feel prepared and help ensure that you’re getting the most out of your networking efforts. To continue your research about business networking, check out our blog. Or, if you’re ready to join a reliable business networking group, check out our 4BR group locations for an area near you.