Fall is the season of networking, especially for those in the supplier diversity space. To celebrate, we’re sharing our top tips for getting yourself (and your business) known!
We agree – it’s very easy to click “attend” to an event. The hardest part is actually going! Nerves, a long day, or a stubbed toe can get in the way of feeling up to an occasion you committed to a while ago. Brush off the day, take a few moments to yourself, and recall how excited you were when you registered, because showing up is the greatest thing you can do. (We recommend this even if you don’t feel “prepared”).
Stay True to You
Networking events can be intimidating. We think we have to be uber professional, never say the wrong thing, and be a perfect version of ourselves. In fact, the best way to leave an impression is to be your very unique, human self. While you don’t need to go in-depth about the lego spaceships you’re building, you can (and should) try to connect with others on a personal – not just professional – level. Building a relationship on commonalities helps set the tone for trust and authenticity.
If you’ve checked off showing up and staying true to yourself, the next step is crafting a short pitch. It can take time to perfect your elevator pitch, but we all have to start somewhere. Try these tips:
- Keep it less than 1 minute
- Answer the who, what, and why of your business
- Think of your audience – what do they care about?
- Practice it out loud (in the car, in the shower, in front of friends)
- Get feedback (when possible)
Our favourite way to stand out is to provide value first. Instead of talking about what you need and what the other person could do for you, turn the tables. Ask them what troubles they’re having day-to-day, and do your best to provide some solutions based on your own experience. They’ll remember a good solution, and then you’ll be remembered too.
Opportunities can be as simple as someone standing alone. When the speaker finishes or there’s a quiet moment at the coffee table, jump into a new conversation. All you have to do is ask their name and where they’re from to get the ball rolling, and from there it could go anywhere. Being your best, extroverted self for an hour or two could lead to some great progress for you and your business.
The goal of networking is to create meaningful and valuable connections – not just collect a handful of business cards you’ll never use. Getting certified with one of Canada’s official certified supplier councils will help get you in the room with the right people to make meaningful and valuable connections. Attendees in those rooms want to hear your pitch, and are ready to do business. Reach out to us to learn more about certification and its benefits – firstname.lastname@example.org.