Networking is an effective strategy because it’s the most direct way to establish healthy business relationships with like minded individuals. These days with everyone constantly handing out business cards or trying to gain followers at any expense, it can be easy to start feeling lost in the crowd. However, with a creative outlook you can make the most of your networking with tools that already available to you!
It’s common at networking events to get a business card from everyone you interact with (and maybe some you haven’t). Having a business card is staple for every professional in every industry. Since everyone has one however, it’s easy for some to not stand out or get overlooked completely. To avoid this, having a unique business card is key. Creating a custom sticker as a business is a fun way to make your contact info stick out. Stickers can be made in different shapes and sizes, and also provide a novel function. Making a sticker of your businesses logo or mascot with your personal details on it is a fun way to make yourself and your business memorable.
Networking events are all about holding conversations with others to see if potential relationships can be built. But, much like with business cards, it’s easy to forget who was talking to you and about what. A way to give others (and yourself) a break from conversations that can feel monotonous is to include some sort of activity or game with your interaction. Whether your manning a booth or talking to others, breaking up the conversation with a simple activity that relates to your brand promotes muscle memory and sets you apart. It can be something as simple as a game on a tablet or an strategic activity for fun freebies. This will increase the time spent with the person you’re networking with and result in a more memorable interaction.
Having a visible signifier of your name is a practical way that helps others remember who you are. If your name is constantly visible, there’s less of a chance the person you’re speaking with will forget it. However, when everyone is wearing a red-and-white “Hello, I’m…” sticker, names can easily be forgotten (even more so if your penmanship isn’t the neatest). A fun way to curve this is to invest in custom name badges for networking events. By customizing a name badge online with styrene you can create badges in unique shapes like your brands logo or even a mascot (and in vibrant colours as well). Having a name badge that stands out ultimately makes you and your brand stand out, ensuring a memorable networking encounter.
Do Your Research
It’s useful to know exactly what you want to get out a networking event before you even go. This allows you to maximize your time more efficiently. Check out who’s going to be there, what you want to talk to them about, and where they’re situated in regards to others you want to network with. This also allows you to organize your day and utilize free time you may have leftover. Researching also involves discovering things in the place the networking event is taking place. Maybe there’s a popular local cafe nearby or a scenic bike path. Knowing of local hot spots (or conversely asking others you’re networking with about them) is great to insert into conversations as it’s an easy way to establish a personable connection.
It’s commonplace for most people or businesses your networking with to have some sort of social media presence. After exchanging social media info with someone you’ve networked with, try communicating after the event takes place. Try commenting or replying to links that may be posted about the event itself. Be careful to not come across too needy or desperate though. Keep focus on how much you enjoyed the event itself and the people you met. Networking doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you have a solid plan and a unique way to highlight yourself you can easily make the most of it.