Industry events are a great way make lots of high-value connections in a small amount of time. These events give you the opportunity to network with people in your industry, which is a great chance to meet potential customers, business connections, and vendors.
In addition to meeting new people, these events are a great place to learn new professional skills, find out about industry trends, get new ideas and inspiration, and increase your visibility to like-minded professionals. There are two main types of professional events: conferences and trade shows.
Below are a few tips regarding how you can build your professional network at both a business conference and an industry trade show.
How To Network & Make New Business Connections
Networking Through Business Conferences
Conferences are formal meetings with sessions involving education and discussions in a given field. For example, if you are in the food service industry, a conference might include sessions on marketing your food service business, keeping track of your finances and inventory, among other industry-specific discussions. Most of the time, these events are going to be scheduled, but there is usually time dedicated to networking. This is a great way to mingle with your peers, who could be a great source of inspiration for you.
To make connections that last, you’ll want to give them something tangible with your information on it. Make sure you have a stack of professional business cards with you to make a great first impression.
Networking Through Industry Tradeshows
A trade show is an exhibition for companies in a specific industry to showcase their offerings. You can attend a trade show to learn about vendors and similar businesses, but if you choose to participate, this usually means setting up some type of booth. Participants can come to you to mingle and learn about your business.
The best way to get people to your booth is to have an eye-catching banner, unique giveaways, and even an interactive display or game. Everyone loves to pick up the free stuff at these events, and this is a great way to reel them in to talk to them about your business. Ask anyone who comes to your booth for their contact information, whether you have a fishbowl for business cards or have them write down their email address.
After the show, you can send out an email blast or correspond with individuals that you think could benefit your business.
Before you head off to your next event, make sure you are prepared with giveaways, and most importantly, your elevator pitch (a short pitch for your company).