Business networking is most probably the reason why most people attend conferences. Everyone wants to meet that company’s CEO, to share and receive all that knowledge. But not everyone gets to do that within that space of hours to days.
To enjoy the full benefits of attending an event for networking purpose, you need to lay out a proper plan of how to go about your attendance. Here is how:
BEFORE THE EVENT
The first best thing you will do is to prepare for that conference. Have a list of people that are coming and those you would like to meet handy, then use the social media wisely.
These days, almost everyone has a Twitter and Facebook account. Get your events hashtag on Facebook and connect with the events on social media. You can do this three to five times before the event. For example, if the name of your event is #MARKETING2017 taking place in Lagos, you may write something like: “Hi! I am participating in #MARKETING2017 happening in Lagos. If you are going to be there, let’s hook up”. This way, you identify with the organisers, fellow participants and even the speakers.
You may as well search for the speakers you are interested in and promote them on social media. You can compile some of their quotes, make them into beautiful posters and share with your network.. You can as well follow their official pages to get updates on their activities.
PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE CONFERENCE
The key factor in preparing yourself is to create an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a short introduction of your company and what you do. It must be:
- Persuasive: it should be able to move people to take action about your business
- Short and concise: it should not last more than 2 minutes and of course, you should go straight to the point when pitching, so as to sound confident.
- Have a USP (Unique Selling Proposition): this is what makes your business different from every other company offering the same product/service. Your USP must be enticing and valuable.
- Engaging: it’s a spoken sales pitch so you have all the opportunity to ask questions about how your potential clients deal with your proposition in the past. For example, if you are into staff training, you may ask questions like “how does your company train its staff?” This will give you an insight into what your target market would really pay for and help you plan your offers better.
- Show your value: companies love to see how other businesses benefit them before they embark on projects. Make sure to show that your service is the company’s next step to growth. For example, if you are into digital marketing, you should be able to show your social media accounts as examples of what you can do. Your social media accounts should be up to date with consistent posts, your profile should be tidy and the words on your content must be made up of correct grammar.
DURING THE CONFERENCE
You can create discussions about topics that relate to your services. Arm yourself with recent trends in the industry as it pertains to your work and be ready to answer questions.
Connect with everyone by contributing meaningfully to discussions and slowly introduce your business. Sure, everyone would love to hook up with you after the events. Do not forget to work on your emotion too. If you are a shy person, you can start up with one person, and one usually leads to another in a conference.
Also, do not forget to share your contacts details either by exchanging complimentary cards, taking notes in your diary or directly hooking up with your interests on their social media network.
AFTER THE EVENT
Follow-ups are mostly effective immediately after events. Do not take too much time before you connect with your new network.