Fail to prepare, prepare to fail as the saying goes. When it comes to a business event, preparation is important if you’re to ensure you make the most of the time. Preparing for who you may meet in advance can not only help you on the day, it can also save you valuable time. With Business East Sussex’s Connect event just days away, our business experts have put together a business event checklist to help whatever the occasion:
Business event objectives
Treat a business event the way you would treat marketing your business and set yourself some objectives before you go. Perhaps you’d like to meet new leads or return armed with new information about your industry – whatever it is, be sure to know why you’re attending. Don’t go to the event and focus solely on achieving strict objectives though as you’ll miss the point of networking and end up annoying people. Simply having an idea of why you’re there so you can work out what you’d do differently next time or which events are most relevant for you should be enough.
Learn about who you’re targeting
It goes without saying you don’t want to come across as if you know everything about the people you’ll be meeting, but knowing (even for your own benefit) things about the people you’ll meet in advance can be an asset. You can take a look at their LinkedIn (just be aware your settings may show who has viewed their profile) or speak to mutual colleagues to find out more about what’s likely to help you connect.
Forget the sales pitch
This one might seem counterproductive, but no one wants to be stuck talking to someone who launches in to a sales pitch as soon as you say hello. Go to the event as yourself, not your business and find out more about the people you’re meeting, the same way you would at a party or gathering. There will be an appropriate time to talk business, so be patient.
Don’t forget to bring business cards and promotional items. At some events a simple business card will suffice, but if you have the opportunity to demonstrate any products or showcase promotional items consider taking a small selection with you. Keep it concise though – the smaller the better when people have to carry things around!
Work the room
If you meet someone you really get on with it can be easy to end up speaking to them for the whole event. When you meet people, show interest but be mindful of directing the conversation to cover what’s important to you both so that you also have time to dedicate to others. To avoid being rude, think of some ways you can invite others in to the conversation or leave to speak to other people. Choosing your positioning carefully can help you open up your chat to others.
Don’t forget to follow up with people in a timely manner. The method for follow up may vary – for some important contacts you may wish to call or set up another meeting. For others, it may be simply a connection request and message via LinkedIn – either way, be sure to contact people before the event is old news.