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You’ve probably heard of the term networking. When affiliates are asked why they go to conferences, they usually answer “to meet partners and do networking”. Affiliate meetups and conferences are always interesting and informative, but it is not always possible to capitalize on it and find useful contacts. In this article we will tell you how to make networking not just by meeting new people, but also to get as much profit as possible and make a win-win partnership through contacts.

What is networking? 

Networking is the expansion of your network of acquaintances to solve professional and personal problems with their help. We are talking about creating long-term relationships that can benefit you, if not now, then in the future. It is important to remember that networking is not just about using the people around you for your own purposes, it is about mutual help. So don’t expect that dating will only give, they will also ask for more in return.

Good networking

Undoubtedly, the ultimate goal of networking is to get win-win cooperation, but many people forget about the human factor and start selling “head-on”. And even worse, when your interlocutor tells you about his activities, and you immediately start with the phrase “Listen, I need …”. Or leave altogether, having realized that such contact is not suitable for you.

No. First of all, you should establish contact on the human factor, because this is the basis of a long-term relationship. Leaving a pleasant impression of yourself, being polite, being interested in the interlocutor and exchanging contacts – that’s where you should start.

What you should do in advance

You should prepare yourself for networking in advance:

1. In modern realities, it is common to use Telegram as a contact. Take care of your profile, name, profile photo, in the description you can include your company and position. Monkey photos and nicknames like “Spider-Man_007” leave for other purposes.

2. If you’re at an overseas event and sharing FB/LinkedIn, check your profile: more work entries, photos, subscriptions related to your professional activities, etc. 

3. Think of ways to exchange contacts quickly: for example, you can put a qr code as a screensaver on your phone screen. Here, you can use your imagination and get creative.

4. For offline networking, be sure to pay attention to your appearance: clean clothes, hairstyle, smile and so on. And it is also worth at least thinking, and even better to prepare a minimal speech (who you are, what you and your company do, what you are looking for and with whom you are willing to cooperate, and, of course, what you can offer).

Important

Ask yourself why you are going to a conference, pre-party, after-party! 

Giving a decent amount of money for a ticket to an event in order to meet old friends from the sphere, take merch and sit on the bar – that’s all well and good, but not about networking.

You can, for example:

  • Find cool offerers or market destinations to test. 

Every company that goes to the conference is bringing something interesting and unique to attract the attention of potential partners. 

  • Find useful people, a team of affiliates who have useful expertise or resources for you.
  • Talk to experienced affiliates and sort out gulf issues. 

In such an informal setting, you can learn a lot of useful information that can further help you in your work or give you the right idea. Accordingly, the first thing is to understand and prescribe for yourself what you will be looking for and how exactly you can be useful.

Another rule to follow is to arrive at the event early and leave later than everyone else. In the middle of the conference everyone has their own goals and not much time to socialize. Therefore, while waiting for the event to start, you can already make a lot of good acquaintances. Well, and about the after-party and to speak of and do not need to talk, there is already all on a friendly note. Therefore, boldly come and make new friends.

It is better to come to events on your own, without friends or colleagues (if you are here for networking). When you are in a company of people, it is unlikely that anyone will approach you to get to know you. But a person sitting alone may attract interest. But if you came with a friend, be open: approach people by yourself, walk alone from time to time.

Shyness and fear of starting a conversation 

Conferences are usually divided into zones: bar, food court, smoking area, booths and a networking area. This is where you should start. First of all, everyone in this zone is potentially ready for new contacts (otherwise why are they standing there). And the probability that someone will approach you first in the networking zone is very high.

If no one approaches you, don’t hesitate to do it first – you won’t get a rejection for sure, maximum offer to exchange contacts and get acquainted later. If even after the acquaintance you are shy to talk – listen more. This always bribes and disposes the interlocutor to you. You can think of questions in advance, which will save you from an awkward pause in the conversation.

Strange as it may seem, the place for networking is always the smoking room. It’s easy to make new contacts in this place by simply asking: “How do you like the conference? What are you doing yourself? I heard something about the after-party, are you going to go?”. And if you are going to the after-party, you already have a conversation partner.

Pre-party and is it worth going there?

Many affiliate programs and services do their pre-conference parties and it’s a good place for networking in an informal setting when everyone is still full of energy, both emotionally and physically. If a large number of people are going to the pre-party, you should too. And if you have a choice of whose party to go to, look at the guest list. There may be people you’d like to connect with.

And remember – alcohol at a pre-party is a mistake! Leave that fun for the after-party:)

Maximum benefit

So, a recipe for maximizing the benefits of networking, on top of all of the above!

  1. Join the event’s chat rooms in advance. Get active in the correspondence. There you can look at the profiles of participants in advance and someone will interest you. 
  2. Write out in your notes the people you would like to make contact with for one reason or another. Try to create a large list, even if you think that a person will not be useful to you now, but in the future yes, so this conference is the right time for your acquaintance and further cooperation.
  3. You can write to some people personally: “Hi! Saw you in the conference chat, it would be cool to meet there in person! What do you think?”. That way, when you arrive at the event, you’ll already know who you have meetings with. Booking meetings is an underrated topic!
  4. It happens very often that after a conference you look at a new contact and think “Who is that?”. Here’s to prevent this from happening, feel free to immediately write down in notes/chat/on paper who this person is and what you talked about. Thinking you’ll be able to memorize or write it down later is a big mistake.
  5. Socialize at the stands! It’s not just for merchandise. You may be offered a new product, exclusive conditions or a new partnership. At the same time, communicate not only with representatives of the partner network, but also with people who also came to the stand.
  6. Don’t get drunk! The advice is basic, of course, but it’s good. Even at the after-party, try not to drink strong drinks, but to drink with a beer in your hands. Your main goal is to find the right contacts if you’re reading this article.
  7. Challenge yourself. On a psychological level it helps, especially if you are shy, for example: at this conference I have to gather 30/50/60 contacts, until I do – I won’t leave. And believe me, you will get into the taste and gain even more than your goal.

Conclusion

You can benefit from networking if you do a good job in advance: figure out who would be cool to collaborate with, who can help you with your problem, who can be useful to you. And, of course, the most important thing is to approach a large number of people. After all, it may turn out that someone you didn’t even think of will turn out to be your most useful contact for the whole event. To pump up your networking skills you need a drop of theory and a sea of practice. So don’t hesitate to approach first, to start a dialog, but do it wisely. We advise you to read the book “The new rules of networking” from Harvard Business Review, Special Issue. Work on your skills, charisma and analytical component before the conference. Good luck!

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