B2B, Brokerage, Business Speed dating, there are many names for what is simply an event that facilitates meetings between prospective partners. A benefit to working in the area of E.U.-wide projects is that these meetings can take place all over Europe and it allows you to meet fascinating people from many different areas.
The downside? Brokerage meetings, unless pre-organised into timeslots with pre-determined “matches” can be difficult to create constructive dialogue and leave the event having achieved what you set out to do when you registered.
In the role of International Cooperation Manager I attend these events multiple times a month, in areas ranging from Barcelona and Brussels to Zagreb, and I have found a method to achieving the most out of these events, whether they include pre-organised meetings or not. Below are my tips on how to use the time you have taken away from your office to attend these events efficiently:
1. Do your research (i.e. Be Prepared)
This tip is pretty all-encompassing, from travel arrangements to the schedule of the event to who is on the attendance list, doing your research can help you create a strategy for when you are at the event. Creating a strategy will not only help you make the most of the event timewise, but can also aid in boosting your confidence before attending. Having a “game-plan” will help you achieve your objectives and to use all the tips mentioned in this post.
2. Practice your Pitch
This tip does tie into the “Be prepared” tip but it is so useful it deserves its own section. Whether this practice be with a co-worker, friend or associate it is incredibly helpful to practice your business pitch with someone else. It will not only troubleshoot your pitch but will also test you on your knowledge, present you with questions you may not have thought to prepare for and also allow you to speak more confidently and with better flow at the meeting in question.
If you cannot find anyone who you can practice with then practice with yourself! Do not just rely on a mirror, record yourself on your phone or camera and watch it back. It may seem a bit strange but it has shown to have worked. These practices can be useful for meetings and presentations at events, but also for other tasks such as interviews and elevator pitches for startups.
3. Engage with people (i.e. Don’t be Shy!)
Even if you are not sure if the person next to you can offer anything to you or your organisation/project, a simple conversation can:
1. Help ease you into creating dialogue with others at the event, and
2. Can yield hidden opportunities.
Every contact can be a good contact in different ways. Maybe they know someone who is looking for exactly what you are offering? Perhaps a problem/opportunity arises in the future and that person you met has the expertise you never knew you needed? A friendly conversation may generate more results than you might think!
4. Use your time wisely
As a caveat to the above tip, you must bear in mind that while short conversations with people looking for different things might be fulfilling, do not let that take time away from or distract you from your objective for too long. It is perfectly acceptable at these events to end a conversation when you feel that it has reached its natural conclusion (but do not forget to be polite!). Thank them for their time, remark on how interesting it was to meet them and move onto other conversations. Remember, everyone is there for the same reason: constructive networking.
5. Enjoy the event!
Yes this may not be an extraordinarily insightful tip but it is important nevertheless. These events are designed to be useful, so enjoy the free coffee, meet and network with interesting people and be glad that you could escape the office for a day or two!
To find out more about the events we attend, or more on how to communicate effectively follow our blog or contact us at email@example.com. If you have expertise you would like to share with us, drop us a line at the same email address and start communicating your knowledge!