Everyone in business will have heard about attending and getting involved in business networking to push their business to the next level. However as with most things it’s not quite as simple as that because if you really want to push your business to the next level by networking you have to attend the right networking events.
After all, networking events cost a lot of time and energy and by attending the wrong events, all of this time which can add up to hundreds of hours over a given period could have been wasted if the networking events are not the right type. Therefore, it’s imperative to choose the right type of event so that you can make the most of the money and time you are spending.
Consider Your Goals for the Business Networking Event
What is the networking event about and how do your goals match up with the event? What are the goals for the event that the leaders of the event have envisioned? If your goals and their goals align and are within the same niche or serve the same audience, then this is an event that might be for you.
Know Who the Audience Is for the Event
Who will be attending this event? If this event will be serving an audience that you serve or an event full of your peers, how can this help you? Either type of event can be helpful for your business, but you’ll have to play different roles based on the event audience.
Think about the Products and Services That You Offer
How do the products and services that you offer align with the event? Will people at the event want to know about your products and services? How will that help you achieve your goals and plans for the future?
Know Your Personality and What You Can Handle
Is the networking event large, small, or medium? Will you be required to speak at the event in any manner? Will you feel comfortable socializing at the event? If you’re an introvert, consider whether or not the event is too loud for you. If you’re an extrovert, will the event be active enough for you to blow off some energy and meet and engage people?
Figure Out Your Budget
Can you comfortably afford to go to the event? Conversely, do you feel as if you can afford to miss the event? Many events can pay off multiple times over due to the education you receive and the connections you can make. Don’t discount events due to the expense, if you understand what you can get out of an event, you might consider that the expense is really an investment in your future.
What Is the Size of the Business Networking Event?
Going to a very large event first might be overwhelming, so consider a smaller event to wet your feet unless you are super extroverted. Consider how the event will progress; for instance, will you be sitting listening to speakers, or will you be going to smaller groups for power sessions? It depends on what you feel will work for your business and your goals.
Consider What You Can Learn from the Attending
If the event offers learning, workshops and lectures, what will you learn? Is there an opportunity for you to teach at the event? Do you want to teach anyone? What can you learn from people at the event outside of the lessons? Make a list of things you want to learn and decide whether or not this event will lead you toward those lessons.
Imagine What the Results Will Be of Your Attendance
If you could sit down and work out your perfect outcome from attending the event, what would that be? Would you give out a certain amount of business cards? Will you make so many good connections? Will you learn a specific skill that you can implement back home? If you can understand what the event is about and how it will improve your business, it might be the right event for you.
As you go over the different points about any event, start making a cursory plan about how you’ll handle the event. If you find yourself having issues creating a cohesive plan toward some goals at the event, it’s possible that particular event is not right for you. But, also consider that you may just be nervous. Business networking events, especially public events, can take you out of your comfort zone. Which can often be a good thing and it’ll be worth it, if you plan it right.