You’ve arrived at the event, so let’s jump right in.
TOP TIP: Stand near the food and drink, it’s where the people are AND can be a great conversation starter. “Those little square things with the red stuff on top were delicious, did you try one?”
If you’re looking at your phone during an event, it’s a signal to people that you don’t want to be disturbed. Put your phone firmly in your pocket and try holding something else in your hand instead, like a drink.
Use your time wisely, you don’t want to get stuck in conversations that aren’t valuable or going anywhere. The thing is, the person you’re talking too probably feels the same way but doesn’t know how to end the conversation. Dissolve it elegantly. A trick I sometimes use is to look above their shoulder and wave at “someone” behind them, then I can say “Oh I’ve just need to go and speak to this guy, it was great to meet you” and leave. If you tell anyone I told you that, I’ll deny it!
Think of ways you can stand out. This could be something you wear - bright colours, a bow tie, a shirt with a slogan. Anything that can become a conversation starter.
Going to an event with someone can take a lot of the pressure out of networking. On the way to the event, discuss your goals for the event, who do you want to meet? This way you can introduce each other to the right people. Two people can cover more ground than one so your chances are higher. And your wingman can introduce you in much brighter light than you’d do for yourself. Make sure they know thing things you want to share. Finally, you can also help eachother out of awkward conversations, decide on an escape signal!
Active listening gives the other person a great feeling. A lot of the time in conversations rather than hearing what others are saying we focus on what we’re going to say next. Active listening focuses on what the person is saying to continue the conversation.
When the person has finished speaking, ask a follow up question based on what they’ve just said and keep doing this. More than anything, you’ll gather a load of information so when it’s your turn you can speak in the right context to them and make it super relevant.
Lastly, remember just because the events over doesn’t mean your job is done. Next week, we’ll go through how you can keep the conversation going.
So here’s the thing, we know we need to be good at networking. We know it will help us further our careers or grow our businesses.
Now let’s see exactly what you can gain through networking:
In all these cases, you’re not asking for their commitment upfront, you’re laying the foundations for future opportunities. That being said, asking people for their advice is flattering. People love to be heard and to feel like they can help. They feel much better about giving advice than completing transactions.
This is how you can harness them into your vision. It really is that simple.
There’s so much going on, so many events, so little time, right?
That’s why we need to focus. And find the events that are worth our attention. The simple truth is you need to be where the people you want to be in touch with are.
Let’s look at it like this:
If you are an entrepreneur you should probably avoid other entrepreneurs events.
If you’re at an event full of people who have the same challenges as you, you’re not going to stand out and you’re not going to find your solutions.
In this example, the best event for you to attend is actually an investors event. Unfortunately they’re not readily advertised online, so you may need to ask around for an invite. Approach your current connections who are or have investors and find out about the events through them.
Ok so that’s one example. Bear with me because I’m just going to show you where to look to see who’s going to an event to check if it’s relevant for you.
Places to look:
The bottom line is you need to put an emphasis on who’s going to be at the event. Looking for great speakers is your best start. Then, they’re usually the people we want to make sure we can speak to once we’re there… but I’m jumping ahead, that’s for next week.
Our next lesson is on how to prepare for the event. See you there in three days time!