Imagine yourself at an online event. You made it your mission to just go and start networking and pretend to be outgoing. However, after the event you find yourself wondering: “Why did I even go?”. The truth is, you’re not the only one having a hard time dealing with these situations. Many people struggle to get the best out of networking events. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your networking skills with a little help. Here are seven tips on how to become a networking master.
1. Make sure your online profile is up to date
The first impression you make often takes place online. Other exhibitors may already be looking for interesting professionals to get in touch with. That is why it is important to pay attention to your profile. Does your profile give the image you would like? Does it become clear to others what they can use you for? Clear profiling ensures that your network understands at a glance who you are and what they can call you for. If this isn’t clear enough, they won’t look twice to see if you have updated your profile.
2. Make an action plan
Before going to an online event, consider making an action plan. This helps you think about who you want to meet and what you want to say to them. Try to make two lists: a list of people you’ve met before and want to strengthen your relationship with, and a list of people you want to meet. Examples of people you’ve met before include colleagues, people you’ve met at events and other acquaintances. People you want to talk to could be leaders at work or members of a community you want to be a part of. Take each list and decide what you are going to say to make a killer first impression!
3. Use the chat to your advantage
If you're participating in a live stream or demonstration, try to respond to people asking questions that are of interest to you. This is an easy and non-awkward way to meet new people in a casual way. As a bonus you immediately have a relevant hook to follow up on the contact after the livestream ends. Perhaps learn some creative conversation starters beforehand to really make an impression.
4. Stop focusing on what you want
Showing interest is one of the best ways to establish a relationship. When you’re speaking with people, think about answering the following questions:
• What motivates this person?
• What is important to them?
• What energizes them?
• What do they love to talk about?
• What shuts them down or closes them off?
• What do they value?
Make it your goal to answer these questions about every person you are speaking with to give yourself a social mission. Before you know it, they will find you fascinating, even though you have been trying to learn about them!
5. Network with everyone
Quality is always more important than quantity, but try to network with more people! A good example is meeting more people outside of your industry or area of expertise. Since you will never know what the future holds for you, you might need them later in your career. An online event helps you find more interesting people and get in touch with them faster compared to a physical event. With an intelligent matchmaking system and smart filters you are able to send meeting request to multiple people at the same time.
6. Introduce people to each other
While you may not have the contact list of a super connector yet, you can add value to your network by simply spending a little bit of time each week connecting people who should know each other. You can do this in two easy steps:
• Keep up-to-date with what the people in your network need and what their strengths are.
• Introduce people whose needs match another person’s strengths. For example, connect your acquaintance who wants to transition into a marketing career with a marketing professional you know.
This is a winning strategy for everyone involved because the people you connect benefit from knowing each other and both feel grateful toward you for bringing them together.
7. Follow up
The follow up is an important part most people forget. Most people are busy and if you do not connect with them regularly, you’ll be forgotten. Within 48 hours, send a brief chat message through the system reminding them who you are and what you talked about the other day. Doing so establishes a connection with them and opens up a line of communication so you can send them messages in the future.
Bonus tip: Interclean Amsterdam Online
During Interclean Amsterdam Online 2020, registered visitors are offered free access to a brand-new matchmaking platform. The platform allows you to find people with the same interests and plan your meetings beforehand, so you know you will spend your time efficiently at the online event. When a meeting request has been accepted, it will send a calendar invite to your email address.. So if you like to spend your time efficiently, make sure to register to create a profile and start matching with potential business partners.