10 Key Networking Tips for In-Person and Virtual Events
Networking is an important aspect to growing any businesses, but also to developing your individual professional reputation within your industry. Networking allows you to make new friends, industry acquaintances, and even potential business partners. Through these new relationships, you can establish your name/business while also building partnerships that could come in handy later on. If you are thinking “Networking is hard for me as an introvert,” think again! Networking is possible for everyone! With these tips, you can feel confident about networking!
The pandemic threw our world into a tizzy with quarantine. With the world being “all virtual” for nearly 2 years, businesses had to find new ways to keep networking events and conferences going. It is difficult to build a relationship online, but not impossible! Even though life seems like it’s going back to normal, virtual events became such a hit that they will still continue to be used quite often. In fact, virtual events have increase in popularity by 35% from 2020. Since it looks like virtual events aren’t going anywhere, here are some tips to help you in the virtual networking world.
Have a completed and interesting attendee profile:
Always make sure your profile is completely filled out and mentions all your niches. (If you are able to include a nice professional headshot, please do so! A happy, smiling face in a well-lit photo goes a long way.) The purpose of networking is to connect with people that can help build you or your business. With online events, attendees have the power to search, so make sure you have keywords in your profile that will stand out to the people you want it to. We also recommend to connect your social profiles if that is an option. This is a great way to gain new followers and engage with your network!
Reach out to other participants:
Remember, you are ONLINE, so it’s not as easy to accidentally “bump” into someone and spark a conversation. You have to take the initiative and reach out to other participants. Look through the chats and profiles and see if there is anyone that would be a great connection. If they do an icebreaker, don’t be afraid! Join in and see what can happen. We are all in the same boat, but we have to keep up our networking somehow. Feel free to reach out after the event and ask to make a connection based on your shared experience as a participant.
Take part in discussions:
The quickest way to make your presence known is to actively participate in what is going on. Asking insightful questions or making a good comment can help begin conversations with other attendees. Remember, not everyone knows who you are. Participating in discussions can help highlight your expertise and establish credibility.
Ask for contact information:
To keep the connections you built, you have to request contact information. We don’t mean you have to get their phone number right off the bat, but a great way to start is with social media profiles! This is the point of social media after all. Once you connect with an attendee on social media it will give the opportunity to continue your conversation from the event which may lead to phone numbers, emails, etc. Asking an attendee specifically for their contact information also makes them feel more relevant. They will remember you when you reach out to them again. (LinkedIn is a great tool to start a professional conversation!)
Reach out and follow up from time to time:
Relationships take a while to nurture and grow. One small conversation won’t build the connection you are looking for. Keep your relationships active: don’t let them die once you connect outside of the event. Comment on their social posts and reach out in a private message every now and then. You could even ask them for advice on some things! This shows that you care about the relationship your building.
Even though virtual events have become popular and look like they will stick around doesn’t mean in-person events are gone for good! In fact, 52% of marketing professionals believe in-person events will increase in the future. There is nothing like an in-person networking event, but some may feel like it’s a lot more work. The world has gotten used to “hiding behind a screen” and in-person events may seem a bit daunting now. We understand it may have been awhile since your last in-person event, so we are here to give you some tips to get back into it!
Be confident in yourself and your skills:
THIS is so important when attending in-person events! Confidence is seen from a mile away, and it draws people in. You can’t help but be in awe of someone who is so confident in what they do. Confidence will help you stand out and make a lasting impression. Everyone is going to have some nerves at events, but shake it off and go introduce yourself to someone who looks like they aren’t comfortable either. This will start the a wave in the room and they will notice you!
Look the part:
Since the pandemic, we have all grown accustomed to PJ’s or casual wear at work. Unfortunately, sweat pants and a messy bun will not work to your favor at in-person networking events. If you look good, you feel good, and we all know that! Looking your best will also help with that confidence thing we just talked about. It’s time to dig through your closet and start building your professional wardrobe again!
Practice your introductory conversations before hand:
Even the most confident people can get a little thrown off by introductions. Your nerves are running high, and for some reason you blank. Practicing your own personal introduction will help smooth this process and make you feel comfortable. Of course not every conversation will begin the same, but at least if you bank, you have something already prepared!
Don't dominate the conversation - ask questions:
Remember you are trying to build a relationship, and a relationship takes 2! It’s easy to get caught up in what you are saying, especially when your nerves are running, but try to remember someone else is there. Don’t let them ask all the questions. Take the time to ask about their passions too. If you know someone attending, have some questions prepared in case you run into them.
Keep conversations short and sweet:
When going to a networking event, remember you are trying to build connections with multiple people. There may be someone there you really want to talk to, and that’s okay. Just remember that one conversation shouldn’t dominate your entire time or theirs. That is what social media connections are for after. If you remember something they mentioned and you want more insight, reach out to them after the event and let the conversation grow from there.
Networking at virtual and in-person events can seem scary, but we are here to tell you that you can do it! Networking is a great communications tool for yourself and your business. As helpful as we hope these tips are, the best way to improve your networking skills is to get out there and go for it. 30|90 Marketing offers monthly newsletters with great virtual and in-person networking events. If you would like to sign up for our newsletters, reach out to us!