Whether you're a total newbie or a seasoned veteran, the introduction of new event networking technology is shaking up the way we network at conferences and meetings. Even the way attendees are matchmade with each other at events is changing, so it makes sense to get to grips with how to present yourself, to make the most of new networking opportunities.
Before the event -Polish up your online presence
You can't build a strong network if you're the weak link in the chain. Your online profile is now as important -- maybe even more so -- than all the shiny qualifications you have under your belt. According to a Jobvite survey on social recruiting, 93% of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision. The same applies for the attendees you'd want to meet at networking events, so check yourself out before they do!
Sort out your LinkedIn profile
Start with simple things like adding a profile photo and a eye-catching headline, and think carefully about your summary, areas of interest, experience and skills. Be as specific as you can to maximize exposure to networking opportunities. And use good spelling and grammar. No shrtcuts it wnt gt u d jb!
Watch out for social media
Photos of yourself getting plastered, drugged-up or sleeping around may be hilarious to your friends on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but potential employers and senior executives you want in your network will take a dim view of this. Clean up your profile, and re-check your privacy settings regularly (they can change by default). You want to be remembered, but not for the wrong reasons.
Do some research
Try to identify a few people -- or kinds of people -- attending the event, whom you'd like to meet. Get hold of a delegate list, or encourage your host to use a good event networking app to take the hard work out of networking in real time. Remember you will inevitably not have enough time on the day, and neither will your event organizer.
At the event -Turn up
You may dread or revel in the idea of being in a room full of strangers, but nothing will be accomplished if you can't connect, at least initially, with one or two of them. Networking is a contact sport, and relationships forged by meeting face-to-face are known to be stronger and more reliable than those online.
Listen as well as speak
If the networking opportunity presents itself, never launch into a monologue about yourself. Listen to the people you meet, as they may offer valuable insights, and you might make a better connection with them.
Get familiar with your event's networking app
If it's an easy-to-integrate one like Grip, your LinkedIn profile -- now beautifully polished, of course -- will be your gateway to top-notch, professional matchmaking with the relevant attendees. All you'd need to do is to indicate the kind of profiles and industries you'd like to be introduced to, and the app's award-winning artificial intelligence will match make you with the right people at the conference. Grip even learns your networking preferences in real time, so the more you use it, the better you can be matched with someone you'd want in your network. (See how easy it is here.)
After the event -Follow-up
You've had connections - 'handshakes' - with a few participants. You met, exchanged business cards, and talked some very promising shop. Fantastic! Capitalize on that with a follow-up email, within the week, discussing the initial meeting, and how you think it would be best to follow-up.
Prepare for the next event
Think about what worked and what could be improved during your networking sessions. Here at Grip, we like to think our event networking technology is the best professional matchmaking system out there. So if you've used Grip and loved what it could do for you, tell your next event organizer to get (a) Grip!