Networking is not a casual, unstructured activity – it is a serious business activity which is a fundamentally important element within your marketing strategy. Your business profile can only be enhanced by turning up in an organised, prepared way – so give it some thought, as you would for any other meeting.

  1. Check the exact location and time of the meeting, so you are not late. You will create a far better first impression by being too early than by being the last one to rush in.
  2. Understand the format of the networking meeting. Will you get to speak to a table, or to the whole room ? If so, how long will you get ? Your elevator pitch is your opportunity to make a good impression – so prepare it, time it and rehearse it.
  3. Get an idea of the expected attendees. Will they be business owners, senior managers, start-ups, from the creative sector, from the financial sector ?  By understanding the nature of the other attendees, you can tailor your pitch accordingly and maybe get an idea of the expected dress code.
  4. Establish the cost of the event, and whether payment is required in advance
  5. Don’t forget the “must take” items – business cards, flyers, leaflets, badge, elevator pitch notes, pen, notebook, diary, pull-up banners if allowed
  6. Finally, you can only evaluate a networking event if you are clear beforehand what your objectives are. Why exactly are you going, what do you hope to get out of an event, and what would be a good outcome for you ?

Networking is all about raising your profile, building a reputation and establishing credibility. Don’t start off on the wrong foot by clearly not being prepared.