Chances are you’ve attended a networking event at some point in your career. Whether it is a job fair, a tradeshow or conference, there’s nothing worse than leaving with no action items or new knowledge to pass along. As these events can be expensive, it’s important that you prepare yourself and go into it ready to kick a*# and take names.
Here are 6 simple steps to help prepare you for your next event.
1) Plot Your Logistics
Are you traveling for your event? Be sure to map out your route (or flight) and timings in advance to eliminate any unnecessary stress. Print out your tickets ahead of time. Figure out where you will need to park and where to go to check in. Doing so beforehand will leave you relaxed and ready to network!
2) Ready Your Supplies
This is your time to shine and/or learn something new. Start a pile with everything you’ll want to have with you at the event a day or two ahead of time. I always feel better when I have extra of everything that I could possibly run out of or misplace. For example, load up on business cards, pack extra copies of your resume, have an extra pen in your suit jacket and have cash on you for any unanticipated expenses.
3) Practice Your Elevator Pitch
With so much going on at any given event, you have a limited time to convey who you are and what you do. Write down and practice your elevator pitch so you’re prepared to deliver it when meeting new people.
4) Know Who You Want to Meet or See Speak
Almost every event that I’ve attended has had an attendee/exhibitor list, speaker list and general agenda. Use this to build out your schedule for the duration of the event. Knowing when and where you want to be at any given moment will help keep you on track and maximize your takeaways.
5) Go in with a Plan
Whether you’re attending electively or being sent by your employer, go into every event with a goal for what you want to get out of it. For sales, it could be building rapport with new prospects or learning about new trends affecting your market. There’s a reason behind going to every event, so the sooner you can identify desired outcomes, the better you can craft your plan of attack.
6) Dress for Success
In this blog I wrote back in 2014, I shared an experience where I was underdressed at a networking event. Nothing ruins your vibe like feeling unprepared or underdressed, so make sure you look the part you want to convey!
These are very topline tips that everyone can incorporate for their next tradeshow, conference or job fair. How else do you prepare for networking events? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @TheDavisCos.