10 Tips for Networking After a Presentation
Creating and giving an effective presentation is a big challenge. Most of us are just happy to show the final slide, hear the audience applaud, and pack things up. However, your job isn’t over quite yet. Networking with your audience afterwards is an essential part of the presentation process. Here are 10 tips to help you get the most out of it.
- Be Available
Networking needs time. Plan to talk to your audience after your presentation, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Don’t underestimate how great a resource your listeners can be for inspiration and helpful suggestions. The audience not only learns from you, but you also grow by reconsidering your theories when answering questions.
- Make a Goal
You already know in advance what you would like to accomplish with your presentation. Maybe you want to collect 100 signatures for your company, or raise 100,000 euros in financing. In the same way, you should set a goal for networking with the audience. For example, aim to make five new business contacts or collect ten new business cards. What’s your goal?
To be a successful networker, it is important to be a respectful listener. No one wants to have a conversation with someone who feels and acts superior or who is not really listening or focusing on you. Your presentation already gave you enough time to state your position. Now take the time to really listen to your audience, understand what they’re saying, and wait patiently to respond.
- Build Rapport
Even if you automatically associate networking with selling yourself, it’s not all about you. The aim is to exchange ideas and nurture conversations that can be continued at a later date. You should have already communicated all the important points in your presentation and your call to action should be clear enough so that there is no need to hold a second round of your talk.
- Take Note of Your Audience
If someone commented during your lecture or especially if they asked a question, make a note to talk to them. Dedicate yourself to the concerns of the listener and open a dialogue before the rest of the audience leaves the room.
- Get Feedback
It’s up to you to get the feedback you need! Even if you’re not keen on networking after the presentation, you may find other ways to collect verbal feedback. For example, use breaks to ask your colleagues questions such as “Is my presentation convincing?” and “Is there a point that is still unclear?”
- Use a survey
If you have absolutely no time to get in touch with your listeners, there are alternative ways to get their assessment of your speech. For example, include a survey, a handout, or a call to action that invites the audience to send feedback to your email address (make sure you place your contact information on the last slide).
- Set a time limit
Making contacts can also be exhausting. You have to remain patient and always keep a smile on your face, even when you receive criticism or provocative questions. If this idea makes you nervous, set yourself a 15-minute time limit. Don’t feel like you have to answer all questions extensively. You may also refer the audience to your brochure, publication etc., to help them gain more understanding on a particular topic.
- Stay in touch
If you connect with someone and exchange contact information, be sure to touch base with them within 48 hours. This way your meeting will still be fresh for both of you. The longer you wait, the less likely it is you will make that connection.
- Learn from Mistakes
Your presentation may not be running perfectly. Perhaps your videos won’t load, you’ve forgotten a point, or networking hasn’t been successful on that day. Write a summary of your presentation and list things that went well and things that need improvement. Look at this list before your next presentation, learn from it and make the adjustments you need for your next presentation to be a complete success.