Networking events are an essential element of business success. They give you the opportunity to interact with potential clients, future joint venture partners and to forge new business relationships.

However, many people find networking events stressful, as they’re unsure of what to expect or find entering a roomful of unknown people quite daunting.

If you want to feel relaxed and confident, it pays to know in advance, what to expect. Here is why it’s essential to get these 5 questions answered, prior to attending your next networking event.

#1 What are the event specifics?

The most obvious questions you need answered, will fall under this category. Questions clarifying the time and place of the event, as well as the type of event help you get confirmation of where you need to go and what preparation you may need. So, make sure you cover the bases here, as well as getting the remaining four questions answered.

#2 Do I need to bring anything extra with me?

It’s worth remembering that not all events include complementary food and/or drink – so make sure to clarify if you need to bring cash with you for this or the car park. Asking this question will also highlight whether you need your own notepad and pen, or if they’re planning to run a presentation that requires your reading glasses!

#3 What dress code does the event have?

Some networking events don’t have any form of dress code, whereas others may have a formal or informal requirement. If in doubt, it’s better to err on the side of caution and opt for a business suit, as you can always lose the jacket and instantly look less formal.

#4 What is the format of the event?

There are various types of business networking events out there – from informal drop-in events, right through to formal, agenda-led ones. Each one will dictate how long you need to spend at the event, what to take and what to expect. So, it pays to clarify the format, if there’s an agenda you can get in advance, or if you can drop in and leave when ready.

#5 Will I need to do an intro or elevator speech?

Public speaking is a massive fear for many business owners – and it’s this fear often prevents them from going to a networking event. But not all networking events require you to get up and speak in a formal environment. If in doubt, ask beforehand, so you can be prepared.

Many networking events will have either a website or social media presence, under the event, business or even the organisers or co-ordinators name. This gives you the perfect chance to contact them and get your questions answered in advance, as well as an opportunity to befriend people, prior to the actual event. That way, you’ll already know someone else at the event, as well as having a clear indication of what to expect – immediately lowering your anxiety and stress levels.

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