With the advances in the online social media, the concept of networking events has become pervasive among college students and professionals. The networking events are a great resource for business development and career advancements. This article briefly highlights three attributes of a networking event: overview, purpose, and outcome.
Any event in which a few professionals meet and greet in a friendly environment can be viewed as a networking event. In general, there are three types of events:
There are primarily four purposes behind attending a networking event: Business Developments, Career Advancements, Contact Developments, and Information Collections. Business Developments are mostly geared toward business owners, entrepreneurs, or company agents as through they would be able to find complementary businesses, business partners, and prospect clients, respectively. Career Advancements are meant for those who wish to make a move to a higher rewarding career positions by meeting and following up with prospect recruiters. Contact Developments are the essence of any networking event. Contact materials such as business cards, brochures, etc., collected during a networking event can come handy in the future. Information Collections can be regarded as a decent purpose for attending a networking event. Sometimes you may go to an event only to learn from the best practices in the industry, to ask questions from special guests, or to learn from your competitor markets, customers, and new ideas. A basic understanding of your participation purpose can go a long way when you start planning your next event.
The outcome of an event depends largely on whether you have done your homework (prior, on, and after the event). In other words, follow the below four tips:
1. Come prepared : Make sure to have a pen, pad, business card, and a brochure with you.
2. Make Advance Appointments : Research who else is coming and take out some of the important attendances in your short list. Then, politely reach them via email or social media (if possible), and see if they can shortly meet you during the networking events. In big events, this tip becomes imperative.
3. Be proactive : Engage professionally in event break discussions and event special sessions. Never do I, for example, hesitate to meet and greet with new people I meet in networking events.
4. Follow up professionally : make sure to email the key connections you meet at an event afterward and to add them to your LinkedIn connections. If you wish to develop a long term business relationship with someone, you should become his/her friend. As noted nicely by Khalil Gibran: “Friendship is a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.”
In short, the very foundation of many small businesses and young professionals are based upon networking events. Thus, following what was discussed in this article, you will be able to make the most of your next networking event.