How to Network Like a Boss: 3 Tips on How to Prep for a Networking Event
By Nicole Grimes, M.Ed.
Let's begin by discussing what networking is, and what it is not...
Networking is not selling, it is about spotting opportunities, and maximizing them. Spending time on building relationships could deliver results in the future, according to Will Kintish, author of Business Networking: The Survival Guide. Meeting more people can lead to meeting more people, and opening doors in the future.
In this article, we will focus on 3 Tips on How to Prep for a Networking Event:
1. Prepare Your Elevator Pitch:
· A good elevator pitch lasts 20 - 30 seconds, and can be used for multiple reasons:
· to introduce yourself and your organization to potential clients or customers
· to talk to people about an initiative that your company or you are engaged in
· to answer the question, "What do you do?" without stumbling
· Practice your pitch multiple times prior to the event. Take it a step further by practicing your pitch with a friend.
2. Set a Goal for Yourself:
· Clearly identify your needs. What are they? Do you know?
· What do you want to achieve at this event, and what kinds of connections are you hoping to make?
· Think about the why - why do you want to grow your network, and what kind of talents do you need to seek out in individuals you meet?
· What is your goal with helping others? How many people/businesses are YOU willing to mentor this year? Remember this is about relationships so there should be a clear exchange in this process.
· WRITE THESE THINGS DOWN, AND REVISIT THIS A FEW TIMES PRIOR TO THE EVENT
3. Prepare Your Entry Point
Now that you have prepared your elevator pitch, set goals for yourself, and created a plan, start thinking about the types of questions you will ask your targeted acquaintances. Harvard Law School suggests the following questions to consider asking when networking with individuals:
· What are your primary job responsibilities?
· What experience did you have to get your job?
· How long have you worked here?
· What is your own background and experience?
· What is a typical work day like?
· How long is your work day?
· How much variety is there in your work?
· How much training/supervision do or did you receive?
· How much client contact do you have?
· How much contact and what kinds of interactions do you have with individuals or groups outside the office or organization?
· Does your job require that you travel?
· What do you like/dislike most about your work?
· Take some to choose 3-5 set questions that you will ask persons you meet. Remember, these questions will be asked through conversation. You want to refrain from conducting an interview.
Your challenge is to create your plan!
Take some time out to WRITE DOWN your personal Prep Plan for
your next Networking Event. We will add to this plan each day.