One of the biggest advantages that people get when they make a deal on Shark Tank is that they get a massive boost in networking. Each of the Sharks has a big network that they have cultivated over the years, and this opens numerous doors for people who choose to work with them. I honestly believe that the networking opportunities are much more advantageous than even the money they offer to invest in these businesses. That’s because it really does matter who you know.

One of the ways you can network as an entrepreneur would be through events like seminars, conferences, and expos. These often give you many opportunities to meet new people that can become peers, mentors, or the connections you need to expand. So, let’s talk about five steps you need to take in order to make networking events as successful as possible.

RESEARCH THE KEY ATTENDEES

The keynote speakers of the event will usually be listed on the website or promotional fliers. Take the time to research these people. Usually, you can find a great deal of information online, especially through sites like LinkedIn. Find out about these people and determine how they can help you.

If you locate a key attendee who could be especially helpful and you feel that this is the type of person who could be a mentor for you, then focus on them.

ASK QUESTIONS

One of the biggest pitfalls that many entrepreneurs make at networking events is talking only about themselves. You likely have been told that you need to talk yourself and your business up and there is some truth to this. However, you also need to ask questions. This is your opportunity to pick the minds of some of the most successful people out there—don’t waste that opportunity. Learn as much as you possibly can.

GO TO THE EVENT WITH PURPOSE

When you plan to go to a networking event, how much time have you spent determining your purpose for going? It’s the networking that you are going to the event for, right? Well, there is much more to it. You really need to narrow down your purpose so that you can determine how you should approach the event.

You could be going to meet a key attendee. You could be going to market your business. No matter your purpose, you need to know what it is.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT EVENTS

Networking events cost money. If you are a small business owner or a new entrepreneur, you likely don’t have a great deal of funding available. That means you need to pick and choose carefully. Look at the purpose of the event itself. Consider the key attendees. Look at all the information and choose those events that will have the most impact for you.

FOLLOW THE HOST PRINCIPLE

Finally, when you are at the networking event, you need to make sure you interact with people the best way possible. Follow the host principle, which means arming yourself with an elevator speech, always keeping business cards on you, making sure you look your best, initiating conversations with people, acting as if this is your event, being comfortable yet professional, and always putting others first when you can.

Networking events can be very powerful for you if you use them properly. Use these five steps and you will get much more out of them. Remember that the more people you know, the better for your business, so get to know as many people as you can when you can.

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