Leveraging Events For Networking

Leveraging Events For Networking

Networking is key for a Business Development Representative, and leveraging events for networking can help you be successful. While it’s great to expand your circle virtually over LinkedIn and other connections, nothing beats being at an event and networking. This has been one of the fastest ways I can vouch for building connections.

As a BDR I look for opportunities to build conversations with as many people who are in the same line as me or are starting their own businesses. Mark Elliott, my manager, and co-founder of VA Partners, encourages me to attend more events that would help me network and also help me keep up with the industry trends. In my previous blog I spoke about how he looks at my goals for personal development. This is an extension of it.

As a BDR myself, I have seen a great deal of difference in how easy it is to network during events rather than reaching out and connecting with them virtually over LinkedIn. Yes, that’s an effective way and something we all relied on during the pandemic, but now that we are all back to our normal lives, it feels a bit more natural connecting in-person than online. 

Why Should You Consider Attending Events?

  1. Lead generation: We attend events to not just network in general, but also to meet potential clients. It’s important to ask open-ended questions, have a quick introduction of yourself ready and understanding what they do. After a successful conversation, don’t forget to exchange cards.
  2. Building the Professional Network: As I mentioned before, meeting potential clients, fellow professionals, and industry leaders at an event is natural. I say that because events bring together such a diverse set of people together – entrepreneurs, business owners, professionals – you name it. Small talk is so much easier, and you can have so many meaningful conversations when you know what’s the theme of the event.
  3. Keeping up with Industry Trends: Events usually are informative and having conversations is not just about small talk but more about understanding what people are doing new. In most of the events I have attended, I have often ended up learning at least one thing new, or a new perspective. Industry trends tend to be more reflective in events and you also get a feel of what you must try and work on keeping how people are working around you. 
  4. Focusing on Personal Development: When I said earlier that attending events has been an extension of my personal development, I meant it. Initially when I started attending events with Mark, I remember being a bit nervous. But once I was able to network and get something out of the event, it only made me more confident. It’s something that helps you enhance your communication skills for sure. It is an easy way to step out of the comfort zone.

Understanding An Event’s Relevance with Reference to Your Organization

Always consider the relevance of the event before you register. However obvious, it’s important to understand that everyone attends events for networking. It’s crucial to think before the event if people attending or participating in the event are relevant to network with.

Preparing for the Event

  1. Conversation pointers: When you meet people, of course you could go on and start with a small talk. But you should have a brief introduction about what you do, ready for them. Not only a brief introduction, the focus must be to let them talk more and so, some open-ended questions must be kept handy. 
  2. Plan your travels: If you must go between cities to attend an event, or just to the next plaza, it’s good to plan the travel well in advance. This helps to cut all the ambiguous air and be organised on the day of the event. I do not drive, so when I have to travel for events outside my city, I always book my travels well in advance, preferably 3 days in advance.
  3. Attire: Always confirm what attire is suggested. I prefer always keeping my attire professional as it helps me to be more confident.
  4. Carry your business cards: You need a point of contact later to stay in touch, which is why business cards come in handy. Exchanging business cards is essentially the best way to connect later. Now, if you do not have business cards, or you forget to carry someone, you can always connect with the people you speak with on LinkedIn. Also remember to follow up with the people you connected over an email, or a message on LinkedIn.

In conclusion, whether you are attending events for networking or attending for another purpose, we all seek something out of these events. It might be a bit difficult for some BDRs who are just starting out, but trust me, it gets better event after event and then one day, you look forward to attending these. Why? Because it’s such a great exercise, and an easy one at that, to build professional contacts and relationships.

If you’re someone who’s looking for someone who could help you out with making sales and sales strategies, connect with me here

Leveraging Events For Networking