Three tips to successful networking at industry events

In the era of Snapchat and such, face-to-face networking may be seen as old school, but in PR, it still helps to put a face to a name. By getting to know someone – whether it be at industry events or elsewhere – you can build lasting relations and improve efficiency when communicating. After all, no one enjoys sending countless e-mails back and forth when you can hash out all of the details of a project or discussion in one go. It adds a personal touch where electronic communication cannot.

If you agree, then why not get out of the office and attend an event relevant to your industry or sector? Hopefully these three quick tips can help you make the most of the event when you get there:

Plan ahead

If attending an industry event, establish clear objectives for what you would like the output to be before you attend. Research the audience you wish to target and then build and bring any insight which you think might be of interest to them. Share it when you meet them. No hard-sell required. By discussing an interesting topic, you will be remembered by them and stand a chance of a more purposeful second meet.

Don’t ignore contacts who approach you

Conversely, whilst you have a target audience to aim for, there are other people who may wish to run into you. Don’t ignore them just because they do not appear to be valuable to directly meet your objectives. When you go out of your way to aid such connections you never know when they might return the favour. For example, such a connection might know someone who is on your target list, and because you have helped them previously, they may help make an introduction for you. It is all about being prepared to connect the dots, and enjoying this process along the way.

Use social media to gain insight

Never underestimate the power of the twitter wall at events, or paying attention to hashtags. By playing your part in the social conversation – such as tagging and tweeting to the event handle, you might discover someone in attendance. Certainly a more subtle and effective way of finding out who is in the room – rather than wondering aimlessly around a conference hall – and with little sense of direction.

Most importantly, and as the age old saying goes, “Never burn bridges” in PR. As you begin to realise the true value of networking and helping others along the way – they may end up actually helping you to build new bridges relevant to your network.

 

Ked Mather, Senior Account Director