When you attend any event, whether it’s yours or someone else’s, one way to make an impression is to learn how to work a room. If you go in with a plan of action, you can leave the star of the event.
1. Choose the Right Events
Know why you want to go to events. If you want to meet your competition, choose industry events; if you want to meet your ideal client, choose events that will attract them. You can find local events via Facebook groups, but also via sites like Meetup.com. Also, do a Google search to find out about local events in your area.
2. Know How to Introduce Yourself
Develop a few different ways of introducing yourself so that it’s memorable. For example, if your name rhymes with something, you can use that to your advantage – especially if it’s a word related to your niche. You can also think of ways to insert your intro into various conversations that are common at events. You want it to be natural but memorable.
3. Study Up on Your Audience
You can do this a little before you show up by looking at the membership directory of some types of groups, but you can also do it on the fly as you’re at the event. Take time to listen to the audience during socialising so that you can get to know them. If it’s a longer networking event, use the first day to listen, then the second day to get to know people more and the third day to let them know you.
4. Know the Layout of the Place
If the event is at a hotel and offers drinks or separate socialising areas, check out the various spots people congregate. Know where the bathroom and other key places are so that if anyone asks you can tell them. But also, so that you can move through the room without being lost.
5. Learn Names and Faces
Some people are very good at remembering names and faces, others aren’t. Sometimes it’s not your fault if you cannot remember faces very well, but you can train yourself to do better. Try to connect their face and name to their business in your mind with word games. Repeat their name when you meet them, and try to introduce them to at least one other person which will help you remember more.
6. Move through the Room
Don’t just stick with the same crowd the entire event. You want to try to talk to a few people. In fact, set a goal for how many people you want to talk to at any event you go to. It can be tempting to stick by the people you already know, but you should work the room by moving through it and meeting new people.
7. Show Interest in Others
It’s funny how self-centred most of us are. It’s not a bad thing. It’s human nature. But you can use that in your favour by asking people appropriate questions about themselves and their business. Let them do most of the talking. People who get to talk with you will remember you more than if you did all the talking.
8. Dress Your Part and Smile
It’s hard to remember that first impressions play a big role. You should be yourself, of course. Dress with your truth and your style, not someone else’s. But, you do want to look approachable, so watch how you rest your face. Some people look mean when they don’t smile, and some people look fine. Ask your friends for help and critique so you know how you seem to others.
9. Follow Up
After the event, you want to follow up with anyone you spoke to for a few minutes if you have their information. Dont immediately try to sell them something, but do follow up with any info that you promised them or make connections you know would be great for them. Do something nice that goes a little out of your way for the people that you really want to make an impression on.
Networking events can help boost your business exponentially, but only if you learn how to make an impression. It might take a little practice, but you can get this down. You may not realise it, but you can likely find at least one networking event per week to attend in and near your local area that will fit your criteria. Try going to a lot of events at first so that you get plenty of practice, then narrow it down to events your ideal clients attend.