When it comes to networking, it pays to be prepared!
An athlete wouldn’t walk onto the turf for the big game without months — maybe years — of training and practice. A CEO wouldn’t go into the biggest shareholder meeting of the year without reviewing the company’s performance and prepping extensively.
So why would you walk into a networking event without preparation?
Preparation comes in many forms. I recommend to clients that they prepare in two different ways: Research prior to the event and Get things together beforehand.
There are two ways researching before networking can help. It can:
- help you identify people who can help you reach your goals
- lead to a more meaningful and long-term connection
First, do some research to identify people you want to meet. Maybe you want to end up in a specific role and would like to meet other people in that same role. Or you want to meet others in your profession. Google is your best friend!
I suggest you find three people to seriously focus on meeting. Once you’ve identified your people, focus on shared interests and points of commonality to build a bond. That will help you build a more meaningful relationship.
Here are ways to do the research:
- Focus on one person for 60 minutes (set a timer)
- Look them up on LinkedIn and learn their history
- Call their assistants to ask questions
- Ask their coworkers or mutual acquaintances about them
Now you’ve got some things to talk about with your new connection! It’ll make you feel more confident and it’ll impress the other person – it shows you did your homework.
What to bring
In all my years of forging connections and introducing people, I’ve developed a toolkit of items I’ll bring to a networking event. Get some small, sleek items you can easily fit into a pocket or purse. You never know what you might need at an event – or who you can meet by sharing them!
- Hand sanitizer
For more smart strategies for networking, download my Networking Guide below.