Networking events are essential for business owners because they provide an opportunity to meet new people who may be able to help them with their business. They also offer a chance to learn about what other companies are doing and to find out about new products and services.
According to National Small Business Association statistics, networking is the number one way to get new customers. In a survey of small business owners, 83% said they got most of their new customers through networking. Another survey shows that 66% of small business owners said they increased their sales due to attending networking events.
As a result, you need to prepare ahead of the networking event. One of your preparations should include learning how to present yourself well, and here are a few tips to help you.
Go Through Proper Hygiene Habits
Maintaining a clean appearance is essential when attending a networking event. This step means brushing your teeth, combing your hair, and wearing clean clothes. You also need to make sure that you smell good.
One way to maintain a clean appearance is to practice good hygiene habits. This includes brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing, and using mouthwash. It also includes showering daily and using soap and shampoo. Additionally, it’s essential to use deodorant, cologne, or perfume if you want to smell good.
Those hygiene habits are essential for daily life, but practicing them before attending a networking event is even more critical.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
The clothing you wear to a networking event should be appropriate for the occasion. For example, you shouldn’t wear shorts or sandals if the event is at a bar. You can dress formally if the event is at a conference center.
When in doubt, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. You can always wear a jacket or tie if you feel too dressed. But, if you show up in shorts and a t-shirt, you might stick out like a sore thumb.
Preparing the clothes to wear beforehand will help you to avoid any fashion disasters.
Pay Attention to Your Hair
Your hair is one of the first things people will notice about you, so it’s essential to ensure it looks good. If you have long hair, make sure it’s clean and styled.
If you have short hair, ensure it’s not sticking up in all directions. You might want to use a little gel or hairspray to keep it in place. If you have dry hair, you might risk going to the networking event with a dry scalp and dandruff all over your head and shoulders. Fortunately, you can use the leave-in serum for dry hair to avoid the potential issue. The strategy ensures you can stay confident about your hair during the networking event.
Have a Good Conversation Starter
One of the most important things you can do at a networking event is to start a conversation with someone. But, it’s not always easy to think of something to say.
A good conversation starter is to ask the other person about themselves. You can also ask about their business or what they do for a living. If you know anything about the other person, you can use that as a conversation starter.
For example, if you know that the other person is from out of town, you can ask them how they like the city where the event takes place.
You should also have some topics in mind that you can talk about if the conversation lulls. Having some talking points will help you to keep the conversation going.
Be a Good Listener
Asking questions and talking about yourself is essential, but you must be a good listener. You might learn something valuable if you listen to the other person’s words.
Additionally, people like to talk about themselves. So, if you listen carefully, the other person will likely enjoy talking to you. And, they might even remember you when they need someone who does what you do.
Have Business Cards Ready
You should have business cards with you when you attend a networking event. You can give them your card if you meet someone who might need your products or services.
Giving your business card is also an excellent way to start a conversation. You can ask the other person for their card and then tell them what you do.
If you don’t have business cards, you can create them or order them online. Many sites offer business card printing services.
Follow Up After the Event
Once the event is over, it’s essential to follow up with the people you met. You can send them an email or connect with them on social media.
You can also give them a call if you have their phone number. But, you should only do this if you spoke to the person for more than a few minutes and if they seemed interested in talking to you again.
It would help if you mentioned something you discussed during the conversation when you followed up. This step will help the other person remember who you are days after the networking event.
Attending networking events is an excellent way to grow your business. But, you need to prepare ahead of time if you want to be successful. You should go through proper hygiene habits, wear appropriate clothing, have a good conversation starter, be a good listener, and have business cards ready.