It's been said that we're at our most productive and most alert in the mornings. So what better time to make new business introductions and widen your network of contacts over a spot of breakfast.
As today is National Cereal Day, we've put together a few tips for those that want to get the most out of attending their next breakfast networking event.
Take Your Cards
Ensure you have enough business cards to cover each attendee (you can find out how many are expected to attend by asking the organiser beforehand). This way, if you don't get the chance to meet with everyone and take their card, you can ensure the organiser passes yours on to each guest.
Request A Delegate List
Prior to the event, ask the organiser for a list of who will be attending, including their line of business and company name. You can then pinpoint which of these people you are most keen to meet with, and ensure you manage your time well enough to speak with them. This saves you from dashing from person-to-person in hope of introducing yourself to everyone in the room. It also looks super organised.
Go For Quality, Not Quantity
It's far more valuable to make two or three quality contacts than collect thirty business cards you plan to follow up at a later stage. Spend enough time with those you meet to fully understand their business and demonstrate a real interest. Networkers know whether or not you are genuinely interested in what they do. If you come across as simply trying to meet everyone in the room, it doesn't bode well for a strong business relationship.
You won't be able to remember each and every single person you meet. So as attendees give you their card, take a moment to write down a comment on the card to remind you of them later. It could be the event itself, something you've shared an interest in, or something they have said. When you follow up at a later date, you'll refresh their memory by mentioning it.
Look For Opportunities
Networking isn't just about what you can do for someone, or what they can do for you. Consider your network of contacts, including those that aren't there on the day. If you think a contact could offer some value, make a recommendation and introduce them via email following the event. This is a great way to build business relationships, and to be remembered as someone that looks for bigger opportunities.
Follow up with any contacts you have made within a few days. You may choose to send an email to remind them of you and your business, plus offer a little more detail about your services. Or you might give them a call. If you don't follow up your contacts, they may not remember you over and above the other networkers that took the time to follow up.
Networking isn't everyone's idea of fun. Walking into a room full of strangers and introducing yourself takes practice. Though it's far more relaxing for everyone else to just be yourself. The conversations will flow naturally if you don't feel the need to force it.
Enjoy it. The people you meet today could be a big part of your business future...
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