How to do Networking? - During the event 

Walk the Walk

You’ve arrived at the event, so let’s jump right in.

Where are you going to stand?

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?”

Be approachable 

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.

Be selective and dissolve elegantly 

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!

Be Memorable 

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. 

The Wing Man

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!

Talk the Talk 

Have you heard of active listening?

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.

  • How to start the conversation? — Good conversation starters include food, clothes you wear, hot industry news, events and holidays, something about the event itself. Approach all these topics before you starting talking about yourself or your pitch, as that’s a turn off.
  • It’s not about you, it’s them — Again, be interested and keep asking them about themselves. By the time you start telling them about yourself they will be much more interested.
  • If you pitch, pitch yourself first — be personal before you tell the story of what you do.
  • How can you help them? — Can you connect them to someone? 
  • Keeping Notes — If you go to an event, keep notes. Preferably on a business card you’ve received. Describe the person you met, what you spoke about, or any hook that you can use when you follow up.
  • Remember Names — Someone’s name is the most basic part of their identity and what represents them. When you come to say hello to someone, try to repeat the name of the person - “Hi John, Nice to meet you”. This will help you remember their name. If you can repeat it 3 times in the first 5 minutes, you’ll likely never forget it.

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.

Jolt Two

How can Networking help my career?

What could you gain through better networking?

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:

  • Potential Customers - again, we must stress not to sell straight away. But it could open the doors for future transactions.
  • Investors/Donors - People who you’ve already built relationships with are more likely to invest in you in the future
  • New employees or a new employer. Be front of mind next time someone’s hiring or looking for a new role.
  • PR opportunities
  • Partnerships
  • Advice and Mentors 

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.

Now you’re ready to work out WHERE to focus your efforts

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:

  • Twitter feed - often, people will tweet about going to events. Check the event hashtag or host’s handle to see who’s talking about it.
  • Facebook event page
  • The Speakers - knowing who is speaking at an event will allow you to gauge who’s going to be there.

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!

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Nitzan Cohen Arazi
Next Level networking