What networking goals have you set for yourself in 2023? If you’re still working out those details, keep reading. Today, we’ll share networking strategies and insights you can adopt to make the absolute most of your networking efforts this year. And for many New York event planners, 2023 is going to be all about building strategic relationships to boost events, company growth, and bottom-line results.
1. Create a List of Goals for Each Networking Event
No matter how busy you are, don’t rush to the next networking event without planning first. Set some goals based on the type of event you’re attending. Identify those who may be in attendance that you’d like to meet. Prepare with business cards and details of upcoming events you’re planning that you’d like to share. And remember, you’re not just looking for new event-planning clients. You’re also going to be on the hunt for new partnerships with potential sponsors, vendors, and colleagues.
2. Have Conversation Starters in Mind
How many times have you shown up to a networking event only to conglomerate with people you already know or, worse, stand outside all the circles like a wallflower? To make the most of networking events in 2023, change things up and have some conversation starters in mind before you go. Check out some of the attendees’ businesses and look for headlines or points of interest with which you can connect. Go into each introduction with purpose and intention to meet and learn more about this new potential relationship.
3. Target Those with More Experience Than You
As an event planner, you’re always going to be looking for ways to educate and improve yourself. Use this year’s networking events as learning opportunities and seek out those who have more experience than you. Identify who’s been in business longer, who connects better with your target audience, or who has achieved a level of success you admire. Get into these conversations as a student, absorbing all the knowledge and insights you can use in your business model.
4. Be an Attentive Listener
Have you ever met someone at a networking event who seems to do all the talking? They ramble on aimlessly about themselves or their businesses and leave you feeling exhausted and eager to move on, right? Don’t be that person. Improve your networking results when you’re able to be an attentive listener. Go into these networking opportunities with the intention of seeking out new trends, emerging challenges, and unique businesses. Be a listener and be selective about when you do speak up to ensure you’re offering value when you do.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Share Challenges
Networking in 2023 is going to be all about collective collaboration. So, don’t feel like you have to show up and portray your event planning business experience as 100% successful. You don’t have to be the person in the room with all the answers. This is your chance to get authentic with colleagues about industry challenges and issues. Ask for help and be transparent and authentic with each conversation. You’ll not only open yourself up to new ideas and solutions, but you’ll also make great friends and build solid relationships rooted in honesty.
6. Ask for the Meeting
When you do finally land the chance meeting with your high-profile client target, make it count. Offer value and position your services as a solution. Keep it short, and don’t try to sell in the moment. Instead, learn as much as you can about your prospect, be present and then ask for the lunch or a meeting. Leave the conversation with an expectation of follow-up or next steps to keep the dialogue moving in your direction.
7. Follow Up with Every Handshake
Your job’s not over when you leave the networking event. Event planners should create schedules for following up with each new contact made at the event. Send the email expressing your gratitude for the opportunity to meet. Share your favorite links or helpful resources they find valuable. It’s the follow-up touch point that will provide you with the next step opportunity to grab lunch, meet for coffee, or connect to discuss business.
Consider these tips to help you improve your networking strategies this year. It’s going to be a monumental year for those who can build strategic relationships with the right people and brands. So, get out there, start representing with intention, and make the most of every opportunity!
Don’t forget to get on the waiting list for the biggest, high-profile networking event of the year either – The Event Planner Expo 2023 is coming, and you can’t afford to miss it!