Attending networking events in London is a great way to link up with the contacts you need to succeed in your business. However, it can be an intimidating experience and this can cause some people to make missteps. To get the most out of these events, you’ll need to keep some things in mind.
Bring Business Cards
Popular London networking events like those organised by BNI London are attended by many business owners from all over. During the event, it can be difficult to remember all of the people you have met or for people to remember having met you. Therefore, one of the better ways to avoid this problem is by bringing a bunch of business cards to give out. Josephine Farley has a recent article in The Telegraph describing how important this is:
This is so basic. This is the ‘Janet & John book’ of networking: as fundamental as it gets. And yet, how often do I meet people at events who fumble in their dog-eared purse and eventually mumble, ‘Oh, I don’t seem to have one with me.’ I was that person, at the beginning. Now, I not only carry a business card wallet, but cram them in my purse and the pockets of my handbag, so there’s no way I’ll be empty-handed, even if I give them out like confetti. Offering a business card is a trade: you should get one in return.
No need to get fancy business cards though. All you need is a simple and professional card with your contact information clearly printed on it.
Look to the Bar
Even if you don’t plan on drinking, hang around near bars or buffet tables where people congregate the most. Don’t position yourself at the bar itself though, as it’s supposed to be a place where people can take some time out. Standing a few steps away should give you an idea on who are about to go back into the fray and then you can grab your chance to strike up a conversation.
Ask Questions and Listen Well
You can only know someone else by asking the right questions. It’s good to ask what projects the person is working on and what his or her business is about. The answers should give you an idea on how you can plan your follow-up, so you better be attentive.
Do a Follow Up
Send personalised e-mails to the people you have met at the networking event after a few days. Adding a personal touch to your message is important, because being remembered and meeting new people is the essence of networking, not to mention vital to growing one’s business.
(Source: Networking: 9 tips to help you work the room like a pro (it’ll be easier than a trip to the dentist – promise), The Telegraph, August 18, 2014)