Why should you build your network? It is one of the most important assets that could help you grow your business, learn new skills, meet industry experts and thought leaders, bring your company to the next level, grow your membership, find new clients, uplift fundraising potential, and so much more.
Attending events is a great starting point for everything you want to achieve, and quite possibly a single most important activity that will help you grow your network and help you sharpen your networking skills.
Networking at events is especially important for freelancers, entrepreneurs, startup founders, and small business owners, so if you identify yourself as one of them, try attending as many live events as you can.
Please note: no one expects you to be a natural-born networker.
If you are an extrovert, it will come more easily and naturally for you to mingle and start a meaningful conversation with people you haven’t met before.
But even if you are an introvert, don’t shy away from events. Every conference you attend gives you an opportunity to present your business, meet new people, and grow your network of potential clients.
So let’s see how could you use events to accomplish your goals and shape up your networking skills.
Join Online Communities to Meet People Offline
You probably spend (way too much) time on the Internet, don’t you? And you are probably active on social media, right? Instead of endless, meaningless scrolls, use that time proactively to engage with online communities and advance your networking skills online.
Join Facebook and LinkedIn Groups
Besides learning about friends’ whereabouts, thoughts, and current feelings, join groups of your interest on social media. It can be a great way of e-meeting interesting people, peers, and industry leaders.
You can be a passive observer and follower until you become more confident to ask your own questions or leave your comments and answers. Either way, you will be networking without even noticing it.
Find Local Events
For finding events that are organized in your area of residence, you can join groups of your interest on the Meetup platform. You can browse groups by categories, such as Tech, Learning, Photography, Writing, Careers & Business, Social, and others, depending on your interest.
For instance, if you reside in London and you are into the tech industry, you can join groups such as Women in Tech London, London Tech and Beer, Sales for Tech Startups, Old Street Tech Talks, Digital Transformation: London, and many others. They all regularly organize events that you can attend and start building your network.
If you want to organize your own events and grow your community, you can start a new group on Meetup and take it from there.
If You Are a Business Owner
Live events, trade shows, and industry-specific conferences are a great opportunity for promoting your company, meeting potential customers in person, and building your network.
Brand Your Presence
If you are a trade show participant, make sure to come up with an interesting stand powered by branded banners, table cloths, display stands, and graphic panels. Make sure to arrange banner printing upfront to prepare everything on time.
Also, try to bring the whole team to the event, and organize valuable presentations of your latest products or service offers.
Make sure to advertise and announce your event presence upfront, so you can also arrange meetings with potential clients and people from your target audience on the spot.
Sponsor an Event
If your company is an industry leader, it would be a great idea to become an event sponsor, or even to organize your own conference.
That way, you’ll get the chance to put up branded banners all over the venue, get your company logo on every printed material for the event, and come with outdoors promotional assets, as well.
There are so many valuable conferences, summits, and events happening all over the world. So, besides local events, you would want to consider attending a conference in another country, or even on a different continent. Those require a bit bigger financial investment, but they are worthwhile the effort.
Global events offer a tremendous opportunity to meet world-class experts in person, get to know them better and present yourself while also promoting your business.
You can go a step further and organize a global conference yourself. It will scale up your network big time. The experience you’ll gain from it is priceless.
Let’s say that you want to create an event in the heart of Europe. You might consider Prague, Chech Republic, for instance, as a city of rich cultural heritage and excellent venues specifically designed for conference tourism. Also, you can engage with an event management company, and rest assured knowing that experts will take the burden of event organization of your shoulders.
Remember, you don’t need to be a seasoned professional to start networking and become a part of a community of like-minded people. That’s a fact.
You can – and should, as a matter of fact – start building your network while still in your studies. It will ease your career growth and help you keep up the pace with the industry you are going to work in.
Thanks to the Internet, everyone can easily learn about interesting events happening around the world. Find your favorites and start networking right away.