The Art of Networking

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Has your team or business perfected the art of networking? If you haven’t then you might be missing out. From conferences and exhibitions to business events and meeting rooms, Cheltenham is abuzz with bright and aspiring individuals and businesses.

Networking can be a valuable use of your time. Full of like-minded individuals and people who share your passion and drive, attending the right events can propel your business forward. To benefit from networking, you need to feel confident in your approach, so you can introduce yourself or team to people that you can learn from or work with. Here are some tips from the Event Coordinator at our in the Cotswolds on how to get the most out of networking.

Pre-event

If you move in the right circles and maintain an active profile on LinkedIn, you will be well aware of when networking events arise. Be sure to sign up to newsletters from event and media partners – they will often promote after parties with good networking opportunities. If in doubt, reach out. Ask connections online or within your business and research the exhibitor/attendee list before confirming your attendance. It is well worth working out in advance who your target ‘hit list’ is to meet. Even if you don’t meet them all, it gives the event focus and helps prevent you from being side-tracked by food, drink or entertainment.

Once you have this list, connect through appropriate social media channels – avoid obviously personal accounts, only follow the company on Instagram not individuals. Feel free to follow high profile persons their Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. The best pre-event advice? If the event you are attending is large scale, see if you can strike up an initial conversation before you go. This will keep your first interaction fresh in the person’s mind. Bonus points if you get a coffee meeting in the diary before the event!

Event Day

The networking event is due to start, and it goes without saying that you will want to put your best foot forward when representing yourself or your company. Keep an eye on social media activity throughout the day and engage with active individuals and companies. Not only does this show your support for the event and those participating, it also helps to get your name and business some promotion.

Once inside the venue, don’t stand still. By proactively moving around the space – whether it is a small meeting in one room or a large exhibition at an arena. Make sure that you find the people on your list and don’t blend into the background. If everybody is seated, be the first one to move table or into a new circle of conversation at the bar. Not only will this build your confidence, it will further ensure that you meet as many new people as possible.

Do make sure you have enough business cards, both to hand out and receive from others.

Don’t leave early. You could miss out on vital networking opportunities. By staying until the very end, you increase your chances of meeting someone on your list, or someone unexpected when everybody else has started to leave.

Do take your conversation to the bar. Whether it’s a coffee or something a little stronger, business always takes place by the bar. It’s worth remembering that relationships are often built and strengthened in a more informal environment.

Post Event

The event is over, and you have a stack of business cards to go through and plenty of names that you are worried you are going to forget. Don’t waste time – connect with the people you met sooner rather than later either by picking up the phone and dropping a LinkedIn connection request. We suggest making a point of connecting with all individuals the very next day, so you are fresh in their minds.

Tailor follow-up marketing materials or messages to what you have discussed with the new contact. Don’t send blanket impersonal content, it is the quickest way to waste a connection! Ultimately at networking events, you want to under promise and over deliver. Put simply, if you promise any actions from worthwhile conversations at a meeting or trade show, send your proposal a day early and make the effort to connect contacts. By sharing your expertise and being proactive, you will get the most out of every networking event you attend and every connection you make.

Ellenborough Park is renowned as one of the most beautiful and impressive Cheltenham venues for networking. We have a 5 beautiful meeting rooms on the outskirts of Cheltenham of all different sizes and specifications. Isn’t it time you brought your event to our incredible space?

To host your networking event or conference at the finest has to offer, contact a member of our team today.

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