by Sarah Khogyani
It’s important to know the ins and outs of networking events and how to most efficiently ‘schmooze’. We’ll guide you through the preparations, the main event, and follow up procedures.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Before you commit to anything, make sure you know what your goals are. Do you want to expand your network or inform your network? Are you looking for a job, a co-founder, investment or simply just advice? Establishing your objectives will be the best way to streamline your efforts and help you land a second date.
Once you know where you’re going, find out who will be attending. Think about who you want to meet. Google some information about them and their companies in order to have better conversations. Don’t forget your business cards!
WORK THE ROOM
So you’ve done your research, and you’re ready to work your stuff. Be ready for a night of movement and enjoyable conversation. If you’re going with a partner, remember to divide and conquer.
- Food and drink areas are the easiest place to start conversation. I would begin there, and then continue working around the room.
- Don’t try to break into a circle, wait or look for someone around the perimeter.
- Introductions help to solidify conversation. Remember to give a firm handshake and maintain eye contact
- Introduce people to each other as they join the conversation, even if you’ve just met them. When you help people connect, they will return the favor.
- In being good company, you should keep with the “80/20 rule". Talk more about "why you do what you do instead of what you do – it is more compelling". Nobody wants to be sold to. Instead, "aim to find out more about them".
FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP
Following up is the most important step for reaching your objectives. Organize your contacts and business cards by group-- second dates, emails, and database archives. Always be sure to email each contact with a short follow-up note, expressing your intentions of working with them in the future. "Pleasant persistence is key", and following up that night will distinguish you from all the other people they meet.
Source: Perkins Coie Internal—“Working the Room”. This article is written by Sarah Khogyani, who handles marketing and PR for StartupMonthly. Resources are provided by Perkins Coie. StartupMonthly is a global entrepreneurial eco-system, offering a variety of resources to early-stage startup companies. Be sure to subscribe to our Facebook, newsletter, and Meetup page for more information on tech-industry offers and events.