In recent blogs we have covered how to get the most out of networking events, so this time we thought we would cover some do’s and don’ts on how to conduct yourself at a business networking event. Let’s face it, first impressions count, so if you ruin things at the first opportunity, you will be peddling even harder to try and win some business!
Our General Manager Lauren Bell has put together some tips that will sharpen up your networking skills and have you oozing professionalism at your next business networking event.
Don’t arrive too early, give the venue and event staff time to set up. Some networking groups like you to turn up early, but Wanneroo Business Association (WBA) events start at the advertised time.
If you have to leave an event early, share your apologies at the start, it’s never a good look to get up and leave half way through someone’s presentation!
Depending on the event format, sometimes it’s recommended to not turn up at all if you are running extremely late. Turning up half an hour late to a business breakfast because you were dealing with a client crisis, and walking in during the proceedings is likely to gain you some frowns, however at other events like our Coffee Catch Ups, where we have no agenda, you are welcome to call in whenever you can.
When you attend an event representing your business, the way you are dressed not only affects your own confidence, but it reflects your brand too. The question is, what impression do you want people to have of you?
The WBA is definitely not a suit and tie complusory organisation, but it only comes with common sense to make yourself look respectable, so people will want to do business with you. You might want to leave the boardies and thongs at home!
Be confident, even if you are apprehensive and anxious! Being confident reflects on you and your brand, and makes it more likely for someone to do business with you. If you come across too timid or shy, then you lose the impact of what you are selling.
If you are turning up to a business networking event without your business cards, do you really mean business?
You might not realise, but even the manner of handing out your card at a business networking event reflects on you as a person. Don’t butt into a conversation and shove your card in their face, and don’t be the person that appears to be trying to break the world record for the number of business cards collected at an event, because it is about meaningful connections. Think quality not quantity. Only offer your business card, or ask for theirs, if you have connected with someone, and feel you can develop a business relationship further.
Don’t be rude! First impressions count so be friendly and confident, and make sure you listen to other person. You can’t go wrong with a welcoming smile. Asking a few questions is a great way to show you are actively listening, and are interested in their business too.
Politely interupting other people’s conversations can often be an awkward one at business networking events, so a tip here is to ask event staff if they can make the introduction for you.
Don’t be the person that forgets to turn their mobile to silent or off! Having your phone ring in the middle of a business event is sure to get you some attention, but you might be slightly embarrassed when all eyes are on you. If you are expecting a call then head outside and wait for it.
You should also be careful with overdoing it at the event on social media. Checking in and live videos are great for online engagement, but think about how it might come across to the other event attendees if you just have your head in your phone the whole time. Be present, and make real connections.
Remember, you are there to network and make connections that will help and support you in business, not just for the free buffet 😉
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