When you go to events be prepared to engage the people in the room. Have an elevator pitch (a very brief description of you, your company and potentially, your innovation) that quickly engages the person when they ask you about your work.
Think of some insightful questions that will help you to find synergies with the person you are talking with.
They may include “What do you regard as a great opportunity for your organisation?” This will give you an opportunity to see where you are able to assist.
Also have business cards ready to handout. The person you are networking with may have an exceptional memory and can remember everyone they meet but it does help if they have your card to refer to in the future.
- Government held events both federal and state (contact your states regional centre for events in your region)
- Trade shows and conferences
- Industry held events
- R&D Forums and Tech Clinics
Other types of networking include LinkedIn which is a business orientated social networking site. LinkedIn allows registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people they know and trust in business. Discussion groups can also be formed between contacts with similar interests.
Be strategic in your approach, there is not enough time to attend all the events. First look for those events attended by people you want to meet and in your industry area. Then identify events outside of what you would normally attend. The connections here can provide some of the more creative collaborations. Also look to those people within your organisation who have the skills to be superconnectors and enlist their help in creating an effective network for the organisation. As your network grows look more to establishing key cluster links.