Helen Wilkie

Article Summary:

How to properly prepare for a networking event.

Networking: Preparing for the Event

Networking events are different from normal business meals, and you must prepare properly in order to fully benefit from them. Here's a networking event success blueprint.

1. Your networking purpose
Why are you attending this particular event? Be specific. Do you want to meet a particularl person or persons? For what purpose? If you do meet, what will you say?

It helps if you find out as much as possible about him or her on a personal level. Is he an art lover? Is she known to enjoy mentoring young people? Have you read something lately they might enjoy hearing about?

Do you personally know someone else at the gathering who could introduce you? If so, you are ahead of the game. Try to arrange the introduction in advance.

2. How will you get there?
Be sure you know exactly where the event is to be held and how you will travel. In some big city downtown areas, public transportation is faster and more reliable than driving.

If you do plan to drive, where will you park? Call the venue and ask about available parking, and allow enough time to take care of it. Don't arrive flustered and in a bad mood because you spent half an hour looking for a parking spot and then had to run half a block to get there on time.

3. What will you wear?
This is not a trivial decision. It's about your business image, the impression you make on those you meet, and it can have a huge effect on how well you do at this business of networking. Networking for business or career development calls for a businesslike attitude and appearance. Caution: "business casual" is to be avoided. It's much better to be slightly overdressed than appear uncaring, an impression often created by casual clothing.

Whether it's in the heat of midsummer or the dead of winter, you should enter the actual networking area looking your best. Discard winter boots or overshoes in the cloakroom and change into smart shoes. In summer, regardless of temperature, there's nothing businesslike about bare toes hanging over the edge of backless sandals--save that look for the beach or the Red Carpet! Check your hair and overall appearance before entering the networking area. (That goes for both men and women.)

Think carefully about your wardrobe and prepare your clean, pressed outfit the night before.

Helen Wilkie is a professional keynote speaker, workshop leader and author specializing in applied communication. Read more articles on this and other communication subjects on her website at www.mhwcom.com. Subscribe to Helen's free monthly e-zine, "Communi-keys", and get your free 40-page e-book, 23 ideas you can use RIGHT NOW to communicate and succeed in your business career!

Read all advice by Helen Wilkie; Find more Business Networking experts

More advice on Business Networking
» Business Networking Tips
» The Truth About Business Networking
» all Business Networking articles