They tend to be grossly expensive to attend, but when done correctly, business events can be exceptionally beneficial to you and your business. It's one of the reasons why an increasing number of companies are more than happy to send a handful of employees over to them; the long-term benefits can be significant.
At the same time, there's nothing worse than turning up to one of these events and feeling as though all eyes are on you, and you don't know which way to turn. In short, networking at these events can be difficult, but with a few tips and a bit of experience the task can be made all the more easier.
Bearing the above in mind, we will now take a look at four networking tips to help you along your way at these events, and really get the best out of them.
1. Choose your events wisely
As we have already alluded to, a lot of these events tend to be very expensive. At the same time, they can be beneficial, so it is usually a wise investment.
However, there will be some that are more suitable than others. Firstly, check the fine print. An established event venue will always suggest the conference is going to be of use, while a quick check of the speaker list will show if it has attracted the big names.
Sure, you're not going to get the industry's best at every event, but if both of the above points seem satisfactory it's usually a sign that it's at least going to be a worthwhile event.
2. Don't spam cards
When we talk about networking, we're not referring to the practice of shoving your card in as many faces as possible. On the contrary, this is just asking to be rebuffed.
Most people will only be in the mood to accept a card once a degree of rapport has been built up. If you haven't got to this stage yet, and are just in the business of working the room and gathering as many contacts as possible, you're asking to be forgotten about.
3. It's not just about receiving
While this guide is all about networking and getting as much as possible from business events, you also mustn’t forget that you are there to provide value as well. If you are constantly trying to squeeze information from people, it's not going to go down well. These events are not one way conversations; all parties should be looking to extract something from conversations. Sure, the motives might be different, but just give people a reason to understand what you can offer before making your move.
4. Remember the “network factor”
You will probably approach the conference with the aim of speaking to a couple of significant individuals.
However, if you go with the attitude of not being bothered about everyone else in attendance, you are missing a huge trick. While said individuals might not have everything you need, they might know people who can. This is networking to its truest extent; making the most of people's circles who you come across.