NETworking or NOTworking

As a new business, time is precious and every moment spent out of the office feels like a lifetime of missed opportunities. It is the reason many of the companies we speak to avoid events and networking opportunities, as they feel compelled to stay close to their desk and phone rather than getting out to meet people. We have just signed up to attend TFM&A, the largest UK marketing and advertising event coming up in September, we faced the same challenge.

The decision to attend an event should always be based on the size of the opportunity. Events should be about learning new things, meeting new people and catching up with contacts, so the more you can achieve with your time the better. That said, over planning your time out can leave you flustered and frantic; not the ideal way to greet new people.

Not everyone is comfortable about networking as approaching new people to talk about your business might seem daunting. Remember that most people at the event are in the same position as you, and if you keep interactions short and sweet, gathering new contact information along the way, you can follow up with those which are most relevant.

We have come up with our top 10 networking tips to make the most of any event

1. Prepare and memorise an elevator pitch; a short 1 minute summary of your business that explains what you do concisely to new people

2. Bring business cards to give out and remember to take them from other people

3. Plan out your day so that you have time to watch seminars, have planned meetings and network during free time. Don’t forget coffee breaks and have some flexibility

4. If you have a good case study or example of work you are proud of, memorise the key points so you can recall the story to potential clients

5. Don’t be afraid to talk to the competition

6. Dress appropriately – most events don’t have a dress code, but you are reflecting your business. If it is a big venue think about footwear, bags and coats

7. Gather collateral – pick up as much relevant material from the event as you can for later use (plus you can get some great inspiration for your own promotional materials)

8. Tweet while you are there, let people know you are attending and use the event hashtags – you will be surprised how many new followers you will pick up

9. Follow up with all the contacts you meet, old and new, after the event. Add people to twitter and LinkedIn and arrange follow up calls with exciting prospects

10. After the event many organisers will release some of the presentations from the day so you can recap on anything you missed while you were busy networking

TFM&A is at Olympia on September 27th and 28th 2017. If you would like to NETwork with us there, drop us an email at pat@mcdill.co.uk

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