professional networking

Professional Networking Tips for Local Networking Events

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These professional networking tips will help you learn business networking skills and use local networking events to start building your professional network.

Before social networking, there was local networking. Before the age of the internet, people met in person at local events to build relationships and conduct business.

Even if you have an online business and networking through social media and virtual business networking events is easy and efficient, it still helps to meet people in person at industry conferences or events.

Many top business people still prefer doing business in person, because it’s only when you actually meet someone and get a sense of who they are, can you decide whether you really want to do business with them or not.

Now that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us and local business networking events are starting to pick up speed once more, you can start going to local networking events for business owners once again.

“The currency of real networking is not greed, but generosity.” ~ Keith Ferrazzi

What are local networking events?

Local networking events are opportunities for professionals to meet and connect with each other in person. These events can be informal, such as a happy hour or mixer, or they can be more formal, such as a conference or seminar.

Local networking events can be a great way to start building your professional network, making business connections, and expanding your network.

“Networking is an investment in your business. It takes time and when done correctly can yield great results for years to come.” ~ Diane Helbig

Who organizes local networking events?

Local networking events can be organized by professional networking groups or organizations. However, some common examples of those who might organize a networking event include industry organizations, businesses, or even professional networkers.

The purpose of the event dictates who’s responsible for organizing it. For example, if a business meet-up is being held for business purposes, it makes sense that a business would be in charge of organizing business networking events.

With company networking events held for professional development reasons, the HR department or an external organization focused on professional development would likely be responsible for organizing the event.

Entrepreneur networking events like TiECon are conferences held to help entrepreneurs network with each other and listen to inspiring business leaders share their advice and expertise.

With the growth of co-working businesses that benefit from having people come to work in person, many coworking organizations now advertise regular professional meetups and startup networking events to promote networking in entrepreneurship groups.

Professional networking tips for local networking events

Professional networking is a great way to grow your local business by building strong relationships with potential clients and customers and becoming known as a local expert in your niche.

To be successful at professional networking, you must know how to do it effectively. Otherwise, you might not only fail to accomplish your goals, but it could backfire.

This article lists several essential business networking tips to help you learn strong networking skills.

#1. Choose the right events

The first step to building a professional network is knowing why you want to attend events. If you want to meet your competition, and potential clients, or connect with investors, choose entrepreneur networking events like TiECon.

If you want to meet your ideal client, choose events that attract them. Start with small business networking events and work your way up to bigger ones.

Both are beneficial and while small business networking groups are good for making business connections one-on-one, large groups give you the benefit of expanding your network.

You can often find local events via Facebook groups and local networking sites like Also, search Google or check out Eventbrite for local events in your area and pick the ones to help you reach your goals.

You can find women’s professional networking groups, business meet-ups, local networking groups, and entrepreneur networking events by entering the following keywords into Google:

  • Local networking events near me
  • Business meetups near me
  • Business networking events near me
  • Small business networking groups near me
  • Professional business women’s network near me

You may not realize it, but you can likely find at least one local networking event per week to attend in and near your local area that will fit your criteria.

Local Networking

#2. Know your goal or plan

Before you show up at any event, you should have a plan. Each event will call for a different plan to help you network more effectively. When you know the audience and how to appeal to them, you’ll do a lot better.

You may have a goal to meet other people in your industry or to meet people who may qualify to become your customers. Each event goal will depend on who’s attending and who’s hosting the event.

“Your network is your net worth.” ~ Porter Gale

#3. Study up on your audience

You can do this a little before you show up by looking at the membership directory of some types of groups, but you can also do it on the fly as you’re at the event.

Take time to listen to the audience during socializing so that you can get to know them. If it’s a longer networking event, use the first day to listen, the second day to get to know people more, and the third day to let them know you.

Attend many business networking events to get plenty of practice and build strong networking skills. Then narrow it down to events your ideal clients attend.

#4. Dress the part and smile

It’s hard to remember that first impressions play a big role. You should be yourself, of course. Dress your truth and your style, not someone else’s.

Depending on the event you go to, you may need to dress a certain way. For example, if you’re going to a business networking event with lawyers, you probably should wear formal business networking attire.

But, if you’re going to an event full of coders or people who work remotely, you can probably dress more casually. In every case, you should dress how you feel most comfortable, but also in a way that makes your audience more comfortable.

Of course, you want to look approachable, so watch how you rest your face. Some people look mean when they don’t smile, and some look fine. Ask your friends for help and feedback so you know how you come across to others.

business network

#5. Know the layout of the place

If the business networking event is at a hotel and offers drinks or separate socializing areas, check out the various spots where people congregate.

Know where the bathroom and other key places are so that if anyone asks you can tell them. But also so you can move through the room confidently without looking lost.

#6. Introduce yourself first

When you attend any local networking event, whether yours or someone else’s, one way to make an impression is to learn how to work a room. If you go in with a plan of action, you can leave as the star.

In most cases, the person who puts their hand out first and introduces themselves demonstrates that they have more confidence and power than the person who waits.

Introduce yourself using a short and engaging pitch about yourself and get that awkwardness out of the way, so you can get on with getting to know people. Develop a few different ways of introducing yourself so that it’s memorable.

For example, if your name rhymes with something, you can use that to your advantage – especially if it’s a word related to your niche. You can also think of ways to insert your pitch into common conversations. You want it to be natural but memorable.

#7. Show interest in others

It’s funny how self-centered most of us are. It’s not a bad thing. It’s human nature. But you can use that in your favor by asking people appropriate questions about themselves and their business.

“The single greatest ‘people skill’ is a highly developed and authentic interest in the other person.” ~ Bob Burg

One of the best professional networking strategies for introverts is to start networking within your company to build your professional networking skills.

As an introvert, you can let them do most of the talking. People who get to talk with you will remember you more than if you did all the talking.

Business Networking

#8. Learn their names & faces

Some people are very good at remembering names and faces, while others aren’t. Sometimes it’s not your fault if you cannot remember faces very well, but you can train yourself to improve.

Try to connect their face and name to their business in your mind with word games. Repeat their name more than once when you meet them, and try to introduce them to at least one other person which will help you remember more.

#9. Introduce them to others

A great way to stand out at events is to be a resource to people and conduct introductions between people that you think can help each other. When you’re good at connecting with people, the expertise of others rubs off onto you.

“Networking is not about just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities.” ~ Michele Jennae

#10. Move through the room

Don’t just stick with the same crowd the entire event. You want to try to talk to a few people. In fact, set a goal for how many people you want to talk to at any business networking event.

It’s tempting to stick with people you already know, but you’ll achieve your networking goals much more effectively if you work the room by moving through it and meeting new people.

business networking tips

#11. Bring your best self

When you’re in public at an event, the worst thing you can do is start complaining about other people or things. Instead, be focused, positive, and helpful.

Bring your best self to each event by letting your confidence shine through by smiling and behaving with the poise and dignity you are capable of. I usually like to practice a centering meditation before I attend any event, offline or online so I can stay calm and centered when meeting others.

Local networking will pay off when you pick the right events, know how to be yourself, let people know who you are, and become a useful resource for everyone. If they can call on you to connect them to what they need, they’re more likely to remember you.

#12. Don’t forget to follow up

An essential part of the networking process is knowing how to follow up. Never forget to follow up with people you talked to, especially if you promised to give them some information about anything.

If you’re invited to give a talk or presentation at a local networking event, ask your new business connections to subscribe to your email newsletter to stay top-of-mind when they need your services.

Don’t just try to sell your new business connections, but do follow up with any info you promised them, or help them make connections you know would be great for them.

A great tip for following up is to send people information, eBooks, articles, or a useful freebie about topics you discussed at the business networking event.

In addition to getting them to sign up for a lead magnet, you can ask them for their mailing address and send them some inexpensive merchandise.

For instance, you can send them a mousepad or coffee mug imprinted with your logo. This will remind them of you whenever they use their computer or enjoy their coffee.

Do something nice that goes a little out of your way for the people you want to make an impression on. Keep your emails short and to the point by learning how to write clearly and concisely.

A well-written follow-up email helps you keep the conversation going long after the meeting or event has ended. Check out these follow-up email templates for writing the perfect follow-up email.

“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” ~ Zig Ziglar

#13. Connect on social networks

Another follow-up tip is to connect with those you met on professional networking sites like LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network and the best social networking site for making business connections.

You can share your posts and articles with them on LinkedIn and other professional networking sites, or get them to subscribe to your newsletter. This will help you establish your professional brand on Linkedin.

When you send a LinkedIn invite, mention at which business networking event you met them and state one positive thing about the event that really stood out to you. That will help them recall you more easily and build instant rapport.

In addition to local Facebook Groups, you can also connect with new people in your locality on the hyperlocal social networking apps below:

linkedin followers

#14. Start your own business networking group

Starting a local business networking group on socializing sites like is a great way to become known for your expertise in your local community.

But, before you start one you need to think about your overall goal for starting and maintaining the group – both from the members’ perspectives and your own.

#15. Improve your professional networking skills

Business networking events can help boost your business exponentially, but only if you learn how to make an impression. It might take a little practice, but you can get this down.

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” ~ Brene Brown

In this course on How to Network from the University of Michigan, you’ll learn how to cultivate a networking mindset and craft a personalized action plan to fulfill your purpose in both personal and professional aspects of life.

You’ll also learn the art of self-reflection to understand your purpose, evaluate your personal brand, and gain the confidence to network effectively.

Building your business network is not hard once you develop strong networking skills. These business networking basics will help you learn the art of effective professional networking.

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© 2021 – 2024, Priya Florence Shah. All rights reserved.

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