By: Rachel Are you out networking? Good for you. Here comes the real question: are you getting the most bang for your buck? Attending networking events is one of the most valuable ways to spend your time, and although it can take a bit of dedication, it doesn't have to be overwhelming. Instead of choosing events or meetups in a random fashion, develop a strategy and prepare before you go.
Ask yourself what you're looking to get out of your efforts. Are you looking for a new job? Then you'll want to find networking events relevant to your industry. New career? Look for events in your desired market. If you've moved to a new city and want to meet other professionals, find local meetups with a range of attendees. Are you hunting for new business leads? Maybe you'll attend a conference, an event for your target buyer persona, or a specific industry event. Whether it's a tweet-up, speed networking or a conference, attending a variety of networking functions is beneficial. You never know whom you'll meet and what the connection will lead to.
Once you've registered for an event, do your research. Many sites, such as Eventbrite, will have a registered attendee list with attendee names and companies. Whom do you want to make an effort to meet? What types of people are attending? What might conversations consist of? Prepare yourself with background information on some of the most important (to you) attendees and companies and have a few speaking points in mind.
Most conversations go both ways, so make sure you're ready to talk about yourself and your business. Craft a clear elevator pitch prior to the event and make sure you're ready to sell yourself quickly. Here are a few guidelines to follow in creating an elevator pitch.
In the Boston or San Francisco area? Say hello to the Metis team at the networking events we're hitting this month: