Networking can be and should be a positive experience. You just need to approach it with the right attitude and the proper mindset. If you live in Lagos, these events should be a vital part of your business or professional success. They allow you mingle and connect with forward thinking individuals and make important business connections. Another important benefit is they help connect you to a much-needed job or contract.
Practice and preparation will help you develop the skills it takes to be effective at a networking event. Nonetheless we have listed below a few things to help you make the most of attending networking events in Lagos.
1. Look your best (you’ll feel even more confident)
Dress for success. Look smart and sharp, and then go in with a feeling of confidence and competence. If you don’t feel confident enough here’s the time to fake it till you feel it. Don’t also think you’re the only nervous person in there, others could be too. If you look great and act like you know what you are doing, people are likely to gravitate to you. Don’t forget to smile and be friendly. Strike up conversations with others, and let it flow naturally from there. Just remember to keep it light and professional.
Also find out the dress code beforehand. Some events are Business Formal and people will be wearing business suits. Some events are Business Casual and there will be a mix of more relaxed styles. Whatever dress code you follow, ensure you look smart.
2.Set reasonable expectations
Understand what you are there to do. Are you there to learn new ideas? Ask thoughtful questions and actually listen to the answer. Are you there to meet five new people? Is it to meet one or two people from specific industries? These are all reasonable expectations and it takes a little pre-planning to set these goals. Go in with a game plan that makes you feel like you can really make the most of the event.
3. Be ready with an interesting self introduction
Know how to describe your work in a few sentences that will totally engage the other person. Go above the usual introduction, it’s the little things as this that makes you seem interesting and rememberable, so you come top of mind when the need for your services or expertise arises.
4. Be open, be a connector
People often connect well with those that they share similarities with. When meeting others at networking events in Lagos, be sure to point out the similarities you might have after learning about each other. This strikes a cord between both parties. It could be you both live in the same area, have a shared interest in certain restaurants or even movies.
5. Bring plenty of business cards
Provided you have built enough rapport with someone feel free to offer them your business card for further contact.
6. Follow – Up
Make sure you follow up with your new connections within 24 hours of the event. Send E-mail’s, let your new connections know you enjoyed your conversation with them. Don’t be too “busy” or underestimate the power of a follow up. If there was an obvious win-win connection with someone you met you might want to call them up to explore the connection further. Make your conversations of the type and quality that following up with the person makes sense for both of you.
Making the most of networking events in Lagos means being 100% committed to connecting authentically with those around you. A little preparation ahead of time will set you apart from the pack. Now you’re prepared to network with power, purpose and meaning to build some meaningful relationships in the process.