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Getting the most out of networking events isn’t just about knowing how to prepare for them and what questions to ask when you’re there. You can learn about this in our blog, What questions to ask at a networking event. Deciding who in your business should attend is important. You need to ensure the most suitable person is present to represent your business, and that they can source the contacts or knowledge that can help develop your company further.
So who should attend a networking event? This blog explains what to consider when deciding on the right staff to send.
The first factor you should consider when determining who should attend a networking event is what staff roles make up your company team. Depending on your business and its size, this could include the business manager (you), your business partner, your sales manager or sales team, and your finance and HR managers. It could also include your shop floor manager or team, your company directors, your department managers – for example design and manufacturing - and your marketing manager.
If you’re a start-up, your business team might just consist of you, or you and a business partner. In the latter case, you or your partner should attend. Depending on how busy you are at the time, both of you could go to fully represent your company. However, if there are other staff in your team, then you can consider other factors to make sure you send the most suitable person to get the most from the event. This includes sending the employee who:
Knowing details about the event can also help you decide who should attend, so it’s important to do your research. This includes finding out the type of the event, its key aims, and who will be attending. So consider asking yourself questions for each area:
Type – Is it a small standalone networking event or a big occasion attached to a large industry conference or exhibition? Is it a short breakfast meeting or will it run all afternoon? Also, is it a new event, a one-off, monthly, or does it take place each year?
Aim – What is the aim of the event and who has organised it? Is it primarily to help with business development or sales? Is it a design and innovation networking event set up by technology institute, or a drive from a business association to help companies source and recruit talent?
Attendees – Who else is attending and where from? Will managing directors of big players in your industry be there, or founders of new and innovative start-ups? Will sales people, marketing managers, project managers or technology experts attend? Or can you expect to find business journalists and industry news editors?
These event details can help you decide who in your team is best to do the networking. For instance, if it’s a big event with different networking opportunities available through the day, such as a conference or exhibition, you and another key employee could attend the event together, so you can cover more ground quickly. Whereas, if a number of journalists will be attending, your media or marketing manager (if you have one) should go to help promote your company effectively.
When deciding who in your company should attend a networking event, it’s also important to consider what you plan to get out of it and how it could help your business. For instance, your main aim might be to find new clients and business leads. In this case, if you have a company director who leads in business development, they could attend. Whereas, if your key networking aim is to build industry knowledge and get some business advice, you or your company partner should attend.
Alternatively, if your aim is to attract sales of your products or services, you’ll probably benefit more if your sales manager attends. However, if you’re looking to find new material suppliers or product distributors, or source new talent for a particular area of your business, the employee who manages that area, knows it well and knows what’s needed, would be more beneficial.
When it comes to networking events, who should attend is just one important factor to consider to make sure you get the most out of those most relevant to you. With our expert networking services, we can help your business connect with others and build relationships with the right people to take your company forward. The membership service includes access to:
If you’d like to find out more about our networking services and how we can help you, please take a look at our FSB Connect Networking page. This is included with all our packages, Business Essentials, Business Creation and FSB Connect. Please visit our package comparison page to learn more about these packages and what they have to offer.
Network with other members and non members from across the UK through our National and Local networking framework