7 Great Reasons to Attend a Networking Event

Business networking mixers are important to the long-term professional and entrepreneurial success of most individuals. These events provide a relaxed atmosphere to chat with like-minded people, and the conversations that happen there can lead to career opportunities, and potential ways to collaborate.

Yet networking is more than just self-promotion or trying to grow your business. Its true purpose is to expand your network of friends, connections, and customers. Networking events are a great opportunity to practice and refine your sales pitch, and start relationships that will lead to strategic referrals, alliances and cooperation.

Finally, networking is about building and nurturing relationships, gaining credibility and trust, and showing off your professionalism, knowledge and expertise. Going to networking events gives you a closer look at future trends, industry obstacles and potential solutions. This information can in turn give you an advantage over the competition. (cognitomedia.com)

 

Below you will find a list of 7 great reasons to attend a networking event:

(strategicbusinessnetwork.com)

  1. Increase Your Visibility – Establishing top of mind awareness is critical in any marketing campaign, and make no mistake about it, attending business networking events is a key marketing strategy if done properly. Make sure your face and your message get in front of the same people on an ongoing basis.
  2. Socialize – Human beings are social animals and need that type of stimulation available when interacting face-to-face with others. Today, as more and more people work out of their attics, basements, or spare bedrooms, it has become increasingly important for us to socialize, and recharge our batteries.
  3. Start Relationships – Contrary to popular belief, very few people walk away from a few hours spent at a business networking event with a fistful of contracts. Meeting people at the networking function is merely the important first step towards reaching your client attraction goals. Follow-up is key to deepening the relationships that will increase your bottom line.
  4. Connect With Key Influencers – Instead of going to every business networking event in town, select the networking events you attend wisely and attend regularly. Do some research. Find out which organizations attract the people you want to meet and you will get the biggest return on your investment of time.
  5. Stay Current on Trends – Attending networking events given by your professional association—or associations related to your target market—allows you to glean information about current and future trends. The information you gather at these functions can easily give you a leg up on your competition.
  6. Hone Your Marketing Message – Use business networking events to practice and refine your elevator speech. Make sure it conveys in 30 seconds or less what solutions you provide, for whom you provide them, and the benefits of doing business with you.
  7. Recruit Talent – If you are looking to expand your business and hire staff, business networking events are a good starting point for your exploration of the marketplace. You will be able to enter into conversations with potential employees and get clear on what your needs are.

How to Get the Most Out of a Business Mixer

Although the importance of maintaining a professional persona while at the office cannot be understated, it is equally valuable to interact with others properly at events outside of the office. Golf tournaments, company BBQ’s and networking mixers are all opportunities to connect with your peers and further your professional relationships.
This of course can be easier said than done, and for many people, it does take some time to adjust to these types of things. There is no better place to practice your business-setting social skills than at a local business mixer.
Getting the most out of events such as these is straightforward, but it does require some insider knowledge, and it always helps to be prepared. That’s why the following tips will come in handy for anyone looking to improve upon their skills and etiquette at business events.

 

Dress Appropriately

This is especially important for the gentlemen to remember. No offense guys, but there are those among us who have sometimes been known to neglect this important aspect of social networking. Even if the occasion is less than formal you will want to err on the side of caution.
Nothing is worse than showing up under-dressed to a black tie event. Make sure to read the invitation carefully, and if you are still unsure, throw on a tie and shine up some shoes. You can always lose a jacket or necktie late if you feel overdressed.

 

Have a Goal

Make sure that you go to the event with a clear idea in mind of what you want to do. This could mean getting on a first name basis with some of the attendees, or even impressing your boss with some witty banter.
Regardless of what you wish to achieve, you’ll want to have at least one goal decided on when you walk in the door. Walking around the room, introducing yourself to people and projecting a positive persona will all help show others that you are serious, and will leave a lasting impression.

 

Be Cool and Calm

This may seem like something obvious, but let’s just say it anyway – do not have too much alcohol to drink. It may seem harmless, but it could follow you around for years, and it is the type of thing that will surely ruin your professional prospects. One drink is okay, as it will help you blend in, but if you are not a drinker just help yourself to a coke or something that you can hold in your hand.
As for the food, make sure to sample lightly, and do not get caught stuffing your face in front of a potential contact. It would also be wise to hold back for a few minutes once the food is served so that you don’t come across as rude or overeager.

 

Conclusion

Finally, be sure to answer questions with more than a simple yes or no. Listen attentively, and when you want to move on, don’t get caught yawning or gazing around. Wait for a pause and say, “It’s been a pleasure talking with you and I look forward to meeting you again.” Any new contacts you may have made should be sent a quick thank you email to let them know you appreciated meeting them. These tips will come in handy the next time you’re ready to attend a business mixer or networking event.

The 5 Essential Qualities of True Leadership

Good leadership can be a difficult attribute to spot. Sometimes leaders quietly guide by example, and in other cases they can be vocal and boisterous; however, all great leaders have the ability to navigate through difficult challenges, and their teams look to them for support.

Even if leadership is tough to quantify, there are some characteristics that you can look for when attempting to pinpoint those who would best be suited for management or executive roles within your organization. If you’re hiring, you should look for these traits during the interview process, even if the candidate may have a long way to go before assuming any type of major leadership role.

This is also crucial if you wish to retain your business’s top talent. One of the main reasons people leave their jobs is the lack of leadership within the company. Even beyond money, people want to know that someone who they have faith in will guide them to success.

 

So what are the leadership qualities that you can look for in an individual?

 

1. Flexibility

 

Flexible leaders are those who are able to alter their course, opinions and decisions as needed. These types of leaders are much better than those who are rigid with their beliefs and actions. It takes a big person to know when they are wrong, and an even bigger one to admit it to the rest of their team.

 

2. Communication

The leaders that people will follow almost anywhere are those who bond with us through their ability to express themselves. They know that passion, honesty, and even vulnerability are critical to their ability to connect with others. Additionally, providing solid feedback on a day-to-day basis helps them to cement their coworker relationships.

 

3. Transparency
A good leader is open with their employees about their motives, and they have a good handle on why the organization functions in the way it does. Transparency is absolutely key because it helps employees gain an understanding of why things are being done in certain ways.

 

4. Consistency

The office can be a place of great unpredictability, where sudden changes keep everyone on their toes. A quality leader can offer their people some consistency in this storm by handling their emotions and actions with a strong grip. This is something that every employee should strive for – not just leaders!

 

5. Curiosity

True leaders will show a genuine interest in others, take the time to ask how people are doing, and then stick around to listen to what they say. The most incredible managers and executives have a way of showing interest in people and making them feel like they are important.

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