Networking: it’s done by many, but mastered by a few. One might assume that the primary goal is making a great first impression. But it’s actually about making a lasting one. Someone else might think that a successful networking event involves gaining several LinkedIn contacts and hundreds of business cards. But there’s a difference between contacts and genuine relationships. To build those types of relationships, it’s important to consider tested strategies that aspiring successful networkers like yourself can use to impress others at events, then maintain and strengthen friendships over time.
Before the event
Use social media as your right-hand man to learn about the people who’re attending, to check the event’s Facebook page, to follow the event hashtag, and then to tweet about it. Next, take some time to prepare a short and sweet introduction about yourself and your studio or center. And keep it engaging. For instance, mention something that will make you stand out from the crowd or that will make someone interested in learning more. Having a few talking points already prepared will help conversations flow freely.
During the event
As you meet someone and they give you their name, it’s important to repeat it back because it shows you’re interested. Make eye contact instead of looking around the room, smile, and laugh at their jokes (even if they’re not Chandler-Bing-from-Friends-worthy). Then say their name again as you leave the conversation. When you understand your networking goals—like whether you’re there to meet fellow instructors or therapists, to land more clients, or to simply spread awareness about your services—you’ll be able to experience and carry out more efficient conversations.
After the event
It’s not over when the event is over. Sure, you have made new connections, but now it’s time to follow up! The next day, sit down and send brief emails to the people you met, letting them know you enjoyed getting to know them. This small but extra effort is the ticket to a long-lasting and beneficial business relationship. And the sooner you follow up, the more likely they’ll remember you.
In the end, networking means being 100 percent committed to connecting with those you meet, or as we say it here at HealingRadiusPro, go big or go home. And, please, we welcome any other networking tips in the comment section below!
Allison Barfield is a content writer for Span Enterprises and has been writing since she first learned to hold a pencil, shortly after birth. After graduating from the University of South Carolina in 2013 with a B.A. in media arts she fell in love with marketing. She's been copy writing and managing multiple blogs ever since.