Three things to prepare before an important business or networking event
Are you getting ready to attend a networking event? Here are three things you need to prepare in advance.
Around 85% of positions are filled via networking and the vast majority of professionals see face-to-face communication as vital when it comes to doing business. Business conferences and networking events are an ideal way to meet people, impress them with your knowledge and experience, and obtain contact that can potentially open doors. Before attending an event, however, it is vital to prepare yourself well in a number of areas, ranging from attire to business cards. Use the following checklist to make sure you don’t leave out an important step in preparation.
1) Prepare your outfit in advance
Whether you will be giving a speech at your next event or simply liaising with other professionals, honing your look is important, since research indicates that you have only 27 seconds to make a good first impression. For corporate events, business attire (suits and dresses/skirts with blouses and closed-toe shoes) are usually the order of the day though if ‘business casual’ is stipulated on the event invitation, then you can opt for trousers with collared shirts/dresses/skirts and tops.
Don’t be limited by this description, though. Adapt requirements depending on the nature of your industry. If you work in a creative or artistic field, ensure your personality shines through accessories such as colorful or designer glasses, ties, and belts. Even on more formal occasions, details such as curved collars, puffed sleeves, and the slightest asymmetry on a top or shirt can lend a little sartorial flair to an otherwise serious outfit.
2) Get your business cards ready
For every 2,000 business cards you pass out, you can expect a sales boost of around 2.5% on average and to this day, around 27 million business cards are printed daily — as reported by Credit Donkey. More importantly, when you meet someone and they give you their card, it can leave a poor impression when you don’t have one to exchange with them.
Even if the business or networking event is in a couple of days and you haven’t had enough time to make your card, getting business cards the same day is easy as there are companies that sell these by the hundred and they allow you to pick your own design, font, corners, paper type, and other features. When designing your card, remember to include your logo and use a design that is in line with your area of business.
3) Update your social media accounts
Most people you meet these days have Instagram or Twitter accounts so update your accounts, aiming if possible to create separate ones for business and personal purposes. Your bio is a great place to pique the interest of new people you meet so make sure to include your business contact and use keywords for the name field.
Include a call to action in your bio, in addition to stating what you do and indicating how you can help others. Include short terms describing the niches you specialize in as this may be the finishing touch that leads someone to contact you. Maintain a professional image in your accounts and include links to interesting articles, reports, information, and blog posts you may have created.
Business and networking events can be extremely valuable, so make a good impression when you arrive at the next one. Dress formally or casually as indicated but ensure you conform to industry standards while freely expressing your sense of style. Prepare business cards in advance and go through your social media accounts, making sure that your uploads are both professional and useful to readers.