How to prepare for a business networking event
Written by Jo BryantThe English Manner, The UK’s Leading Etiquette and Protocol Training Institute 310 310
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Described by The Telegraph as ‘the empress of etiquette’, Jo joined The English Manner in 2019 from Debrett’s, where she spent over a decade as a tutor and the editor of more than fifteen acclaimed books on etiquette and modern manners.Connect with Jo Bryant on LinkedIn Follow Jo Bryant on Instagram
27 June 2023
We all know from our personal experiences, and from what our participants attending our Business Protocol Masterclass tell us, there is always something daunting about walking into a room of strangers at a business networking event, knowing that your mission is to get chatting with some of them. There are ways to make this easier, however – especially if you prepare properly and do your research in advance.
Context is everything, and your goals will be led by how you fit in. For example, are you attending on behalf of and representing your organisation? Are you going solo, looking to expand your own network? Both scenarios would require a different approach to your networking methods.
Make sure you see a copy of the guest list in advance, and have a look at who is attending.
Pick a few people you think are the most valuable to talk to. Remember, too, that sometimes it is worth talking to those who you can be of value to, and not always the other way around.
Doing the rounds and trying to talk to as many people as possible wastes your time.
Successful networkers value quality over quantity and often have just a few targets of the best people to speak to at an event. They may focus on those who are the most influential or best-connected in their industry or those who are potential business leads who can even offer career progression.
There may often be a guest of honour, a famous patron or a prestigious guest speaker at the event. Look them up beforehand – a quick Google news search will tell you anything relevant or interesting about them.
Being well-informed is the gateway to good conversations.
For any business networking event, your hard work and preparation will go to waste if you do not follow up afterwards.
Be sure to get in touch with new leads as soon as possible after the event – send them an email, arrange a meeting, and connect on LinkedIn.