Upon arriving at the event I’m presented with a list of attendees, stating name, job role and company. My eyes work feverishly down the page to see whether traveling into town on a Tuesday night at 6pm has any chance of being worthwhile. I get two hits.
I lift my head to start assessing the room, “if I were a chartered surveyor what would I look like and wear to an event like this”. Of course, it’s not that easy. I soon realise that the only way I’m going to zero in on my targets is to work the room and scan everyone’s name tags as I go. Incidentally, if any networking event organisers are reading this, putting a name tag on someone’s chest works great for the men but can be a touch awkward when one of your targets happens to be a woman! I can’t think of a solution at present but would like to highlight the issue!
I get two early approaches from others in the room – in this case I’m the hunted. “I’ve been looking for you” or “Ah, just the man” are often the opening gambits. This is completely reasonable of course and if you’re not open to being approached, you’re in the wrong place.
By the time I reach the attendees I’ve been seeking out, I have collected a number of cards and spoken to some very interesting people. One of which is a charismatic international lawyer with a wealth of knowledge on property markets across the world and the ability to speak five languages. As it turns out, the surveyors in question were offering a service outside of our remit. However, both were very nice chaps and gave some advice on some other events they attend. They also stated that they were looking for lawyers and developers themselves so I was duly able to introduce them to the aforementioned international lawyer.
I may not have come away from the event with sales leads however I made some interesting contacts and gained knowledge on some aspects of the property sector I don’t know very well. The evening was certainly not a waste of time and I have already lined up my next event.
The key to networking events is to throw yourself into it and make use of the two hours spent there. It’s pretty easy to decipher those that have been sent and those that attend of their own accord as if you linger around the edges and dabble occasionally in conversation you may as well be at home in front of The Great British Bake Off.
My trip into town was certainly worth it!
Ian Robertson, Director, Propertyserve UK