How to Network at an Event
Business Event Networking
Business networking is always rewarding and it is a great business building activity. It is also a great deal of fun. There are challenges and each challenge can be overcome with some awareness.
It is also important to have objectives when attending a networking event. Two worthy objectives would be:
1. How can I help other people that I meet at this event?
2. How can I grow my business by meeting other people at this event?
To address the two main objectives that I cite consider these two important concepts related to how to network at an event:
The person you seek to help perhaps is not the same person you seek help from. They are (often) two different people.
Seeking To Help
When networking at an event and looking for opportunities to help others I like to ask “What is a very cool project that you are working on right now?”. This can lead to many other thought provoking questions that can identify opportunities to help. You can ask ” What challenges do you foresee in the coming months?” or “What is the biggest barrier to the success of your project?” Try to figure out what they are really struggling with. Do not go into this conversation with the mindset “I will sell them the solution to their problem.” Instead, think constructively about how to really help this person. In addition, and another great question could be “Who would it benefit you to know, or what type of person would it benefit you to know to solve this problem or achieve success?” If you can help them by making your network available to them to help solve their problems then you are both helping them and demonstrating that to know you makes a great deal of business sense.
When asking for help ask people for their opinion or advice on a very specific challenge. Don’t ask something that is very vague such as “how can I increase sales?” Ask, “I teach a public speaking course. What are the main items that you would look for in a public speaking program or course?” Or “I would like to expand my client base for my public speaking program with local business owners what do you think would attract them to a public speaking program?” The point is to ask a specific question. Do not be vague and pay attention to the answer in an engaging way. Remember – you asked the question.
Now for some fun . . .
Here is a networking education video on a presentation done for the business community on business networking. The presentation was at the Norman Williams Public Library in Woodstock, Vermont and was part of the Business Effectiveness Series which is held on the first Tuesday of the month in the mezzanine of the Norman Williams Public Library.
Three typical business networking blunders are demonstrated in a humorous way in this video.
1. How to define (or how to mess up defining) your ideal referral.
2. The classic “Closed Two” blunder often seen at networking events.
3. The aggravating “Talker” (the scourge of a networking event)
Beyond demonstrating these common blunders or barriers to good and proper networking is some sage advice on how you can improve your business networking.
Business Networking (will open in a new window)
By being aware of these common event networking blunders your own networking performance will improve and if you share this with your fellow networkers then the performance of your entire networking group will improve and you will all have more opportunities to do more an better business through networking.
I hope you enjoy the video presentation on How to Network at an Event. I hope to see you at a future Business Effective Series Program at the Norman Williams Public Library in Woodstock, Vermont.
Also, keep in mind that linking building is like business networking but from website to website. If you link to another website it is like you are referring people to that website. A link is like a business referral. If you can gain more in-coming links (referrals) then this helps your position in search as Google and the other major search engines look for these referral recommendations and count them in favor of your content. Get more links (referrals) and your site and blog will move higher in search.
If you want to learn more about how link building is like networking at an event then view this page and the section on off-site optimization.