As a business owner, one of the best ways to get ahead of your competition is to network with people within your industry, potential customers, and potential partners. But how do you network at events and go about starting a conversation in the first place? Keep these quick tips in mind and you’ll be on your way to success in no time.
Have an Opening Line
So the speaker on stage just finished talking, and you are sitting in the audience with some time to spare. Ask your neighbor what she or he thought about what was just discussed. “So, what did you think about…?” Get their insight before giving yours. Guess what; you’re on your way to a great conversation!
Always, Always Have a Beverage
Networking events almost always offer beverages of all kinds for guests. The best way to “fit in” to a conversation already happening or approach someone is by having a beverage yourself. In fact, if you see someone without something to drink, offer them a drink and then follow tip one! Guess what; you showed you cared to ask and are interested in networking!
Give a Compliment
Everyone loves being appreciated so why not compliment someone as a kind gesture? Point out their well-crafted blazer or colorful dress. After, follow tip one and listen to what they think about the event so far. Follow up with your own insights and then take into consideration tip two.
Position Yourself Strategically
Most events have a pretty standard setup as far as speaker stage, audience location, and designated networking areas are concerned. So why not aim for success when attending these events? Begin by finding the VIP section and trying to sit as close as possible (or in some cases in it) so you can meet the speakers in advance or congratulate them on an excellent presentation after their talk. Typically, this is the front section or right front section of the audience (see the orange section in the diagram). You may also consider sitting near a microphone so you can ask a question first, which helps speakers remember you after the presentation.
Networking and hustling at events is all about how you approach others and value their insights. Giving compliments, sharing a beverage over a great discussion, and asking thought provoking questions will all lead to an amazing back and forth conversation. Soon enough, you’ll be on your way to building a new relationship with a potential partner or customer for your business.
Arjun Rai is the founder of Wrkbench.io, a visual collaboration and meeting app designed for creatives or visual people. Arjun lives in NYC and loves to attend networking events within the startup ecosystem and is always down for coffee with interesting people. Learn more about him at arjunrai.me or at Wrkbench.io