Before you head off to your first meetup groups here are a couple of ground rules you should follow for the right business networking etiquette. First impressions are everything so let’s get your event off to the right start.
1. You have to give before you receive – Provide value to the group before you even consider asking a single person for a sale, meeting or what have you. Attendees particularly influencers are always being asked for advice or favors. Your first impression will be far more memorable if you help someone first.
2. Behave yourself at a meetup – The old saying “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, that doesn’t work anymore. Besides this is a business meeting and no one wants to deal with a class clown or even worse a drunk. In this day of social media it’s highly likely your antics could end up where you don’t want them to be…all over the internet.
3. Always be prepared – Treat a meetup group like any other conference or business meeting and be prepared. Be aware of the guests expected to be there, look over LinkedIn profiles ahead of time. The more information you have about someone the easier it will be to connect and ask the right questions.
4. Ethics matter – There are shady deals everywhere, save yourself the future headaches and just walk away. If something sounds too good to be true, it is. You can make good business deals without crossing your own ethical lines.
5. Influencers matter – Connect with the organizers of the event, volunteer to help out if you have the time. These people generally are well connected and know everybody at the event. This could get you some valuable introductions, speaking gigs and plenty of opportunities.
6. Make people feel included – Introduce people to each other and try and make those you meet feel welcome and included. This also applies to before and after events. Remember back in high school how awful it felt to be the kid left out, that still applies today. People will remember you when you make them feel included.
7. Pay attention – Focus on who you’re talking to and not looking around the room for someone more interesting. Aside from being incredibly rude this person may hold the key to a business deal in the future.
8. Keep your promises – If you tell someone you will get in touch with them at a particular time, then do so. This is not high school dating, you’re not playing hard to get so the other person will chase you. The most effective way to prove you’d make a good business partner is to be reliable ad do what you say you will do. If you need help keeping track write notes to yourself on the back of business cards, or set reminders inside your phone. Follow through with your commitments.
Those are the basic rules for business networking etiquette, for more tips on making your meetup a success watch the video below.