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Networking Novice or Specialist Schmoozer?

What does it take to be good at networking and what do you want to get from attending networking events?

Since taking up my post as Events Coordinator at Wired Sussex just over a month ago, we’ve held three member networking events; one in Eastbourne, Brighton and Lewes.

There’s been a great turnout at each of these with a presence from many sectors within the industry. From freelance copywriters, photographers and web designers to Project and Account Managers, Consultants and Directors from larger companies, the variety of members and the sectors in which they are based has been reflected well.

All of this brilliant networking and communicating got me thinking about the purpose of networking, and just how beneficial it can be for both individuals and companies. There’s many a format that a networking event can come in, and many an opinion as to how they are most efficiently run; from the formal drinks and nibbles affair to meeting up in a low key coffee shop or speed networking in a hotel function room through to an informal meetup in a local and rather cosy pub Wired Sussex style. To name badge or not to name badge?

But going to a networking event isn’t all about schmoozing, selling and elevator pitches and you don’t need to be classed as a novice or an expert. It’s essentially a great way to meet others both in your local community and in your industry or sector. So whether you’re a new member or a regular at our meetups, here are some hints to help you get the most out of attending our informal (and now quarterly) events:

• Let us know when you arrive if you want to speak to or be introduced to anyone in particular: it’s what we’re there for!

• Be genuine: don’t give people the hard sell, make connections;

• Speak to people outside of your sector: you might learn something new and meet some great new people;

• Don’t be afraid to share: discussing ideas and industry news can be a useful way to get to know other people and offer opportunities for collaboration;

• Don’t have any expectations: if you arrive with only one purpose in mind you might miss valuable conversations;

• Introduce people: and add value to the event;

• Be yourself: and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

As an events coordinator, I feel it’s most important that people leave an event feeling like they’ve gained something, whether this is knowledge or advice, inspiration and ideas, new leads or contacts, or a belly full of beer and a positive outlook on their business. Meeting other members and talking to Wired Sussex about what your company needs is one of the best ways of getting the most out of your membership. The more we know about you, the better we can help; and the more you know who we are – and who other Wired Sussex member companies are – the more opportunities you’ll be able to grab to create and develop new business.

So get your elevator pitches at the ready (only joking) - looking forward to seeing you at the next event!


Events Coordinator

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