For wedding and event professionals, networking is a very important part of the business. Many Pros are extroverted and love to spend time around other professionals, but we know that some Pros are a little bit less outgoing than the rest! What do you do if networking isn’t your “thing”?
Inc.com recently published an article detailing how a shy engineer became a master networker by looking at networking like a game. Here’s our advice for how to spin those tips to work for wedding professionals like you!
Prepare for your journey
Like old school “quest” games, preparation is key! Come up with a few talking points that will help you keep the conversation going. If the event is for your category type, think of some questions you’d like to ask other professionals to get their expert opinions. If the event is for wedding and event professionals across all categories, think about some ways you can relate your businesses and explore ways you can work together or share industry knowledge.
Set your goals
Set your minimum requirements for “surviving” in the networking game. Whether you set your goal as five meaningful conversations or a certain amount of time per conversation, setting a goal will give you something to aim for. You could also “reward” yourself for completing goals by allowing yourself treats at the event, such as a little food or the specialty drink you’ve been craving, or even just a few minutes alone to gather your thoughts.
Learn from your mistakes
If you fail to meet any of your goals along your journey, reflect on those mistakes so you can continue on your quest and achieve those goals the next time you network. Just as many games allow the characters multiple “lives” within a level, allow yourself a few missteps. Great networking takes practice!
Most of the tactics we suggest in the steps above are quantitative goals by which you can measure yourself when starting out. As you get better at the game, level up! Start measuring yourself by more qualitative goals, such as identifying potential partners or referral sources. Meet great Pros at the events? Send them a quick email, add them to LinkedIn or connect with them within your WeddingWire account under the Pros I Know section of the Networking tab.
If you treat networking like a game, the best way to get better is to keep playing it! Networking events are a great way to grow your business and identify other vendors who could make great partners, and future friends. Keep going to events, and try to learn something new each time you attend an event to keep improving your networking skills and expanding your network!
Don’t have a networking event on the horizon, but looking to get started making great Pros connections? Check out our Pro Forums to start building your peer support system and share your experiences and expertise with other Wedding Pros!