The Art of Networking in Events
Whether we go to a corporate fair, to a pitch event, conference or to an academic lecture with students, we should consider the people we can connect to.
While some events may be challenging to network because of the amount of people attending, and even though that there seem to be no chance to establish relevant new connections, there are certain ways to get around this, and to meet people that are really relevant to us and to our work. We should grab the opportunity to leave a good impression.
Trading contacts means we always have our business card around, but even more important, it means we really engage with the person with which we want to exchange contacts with. In case we do not do it, this person may possibly not get back to us. We should demonstrate interest and create impact, however it is essential to maintain balance and coherence when engaging with people with which we want to establish contact.
Although these are events in which there is some formality involved, we should try and appreciate our connections professional value, instead of just showing interest for the companies with which we want to work with.
We should ask the people with which we want to establish a connection what do they do in the company, show our connections interest for his or her role, and make the conversation about both rather then just ourselves.
Workers from companies in pitch events, fairs, or guests speakers from our dream company will probably be approached by many people at the same day that we participate in an event, and for that reason they may possibly not be so focused on us as we might had hoped or expected.
If we are trying to sell our service or product, do a partnership, a possible strategy to apply will be postponing a commercial approach till after a first contact, so that we are able to create empathy with the person with whom/ to whom we are interested in working for/with.
There may be the need to approach an extended number of people, as these events are very occasional and as such, we want to make the most out of them. However, giving the impression that we are rushing from one person to another projects negativity for those who we approach, because those people will feel like a tool for us to pass on our message, rather then real people who are there representing their companies. Also, this attitude demonstrates that we do not always filter our target audience, but that we try, at any cost, just create random connections.
Showing a real interest and give time to 3 or 4 good contacts in a day can be key for success, while approaching 10 or 20 can be great to distribute business cards, but not the best to transmit an impactful message that stays in the mind of the contact with which we are establishing a honest relationship. When people are genuinely interested, this projects to others.
If we feel that the task of getting our message across is, for itself, already tough, we should bring someone with us to the event who can help to establish the connections we wish to obtain. Ideally, communication specialists that can help us to get our message across effectively.