Here’s a guide I made on how to make the most of a networking event. It’s directed at the Victoria Startups meetup group but can be applied to any networking event.
1. Have a Goal – What do you hope to take away from this meetup? With so many like-minded people, meetups like this provide a great chance to find out about employment opportunities, gain some insight into your business, or even find a new business partner. Set a goal for yourself (ie talk to 8 people you’ve never spoken to before) and make sure you complete it before you leave.
2. Making Connections – After you’ve RSVP’d for the event, have a look over the other attendees. The meetup page is a great way to check out who’s attending, and the types of ventures they’re involved in. Find 4-7 people you’d like to chat with, and do your best to make contact with them at the meetup – or even beforehand through the meetup message centre!
3. Work on Your Introduction – You have a chance to meet a lot of people, and everyone just wants to know what you do. If you’re new, then just say it. It could be as simple as “I’m taking Business Admin at UVIC and have 5 years coding experience.” If they are as well, then you guys found something to talk about. Most people are coming to network, so have an opening line that leads to engaging conversation.
4. Have a Business Card – It’s a tradition that refuses to die so it’s useful to have some on you. If you don’t have business cards, be prepared to collect other people’s, or find an easy solution to exchange contact details.
5. Approach – Be friendly and say hi. Don’t be “that guy/girl” that’s by the wall the whole night checking their phone. You’re approaching people just like you, with similar interests, not super models, so there’s no need to be nervous. Anyone at this meetup could be a potential contact that takes your business to a new level. You’ll never know unless you talk to them.
6. Remember Names – It definitely makes a strong impression when you bump into someone again and you remember their name. Here’s two tricks you can use. The first is to try repeating their name when you first hear it. The second one is to give the person a mental nickname based on their name. Ex. Jesse becomes Uncle Jesse, Steve becomes Steve Austin, Quentin becomes Quentin Tarantino.
7. Give Value to Get Value– Want to have entrepreneurs share knowledge with you? Follow the law of reciprocity. Share information with them first, and more than likely, they will share something with you as well. You help them out, they help you, you realize you should talk more.
8. Remember Who to Follow Through With, And Actually Follow Up – If there’s someone you want to get to know better,make a note in your phone on on their business card, like who are they and what you want to follow up on. The day after the meetup, you’ll know exactly who you need to contact and what to talk about. Follow Up – The longer you take to follow up, the colder that contact becomes. About two or three days after the meetup, start emailing or calling people to follow up.
Hope it helps! Enjoy.