How to Use Industry Business Development Forums to Expand Your Network

How to Use Industry Business Development Forums to Expand Your Network

As a professional storyteller, you know the power of networking and building relationships. One of the best ways to do this is by attending industry business development forums. These events provide a unique opportunity to connect with other professionals in your field, learn about the latest trends and developments, and potentially find new clients or collaborators. In this post, we'll explore some tips and strategies for making the most of these valuable networking opportunities.

Chapter 1: Do Your Research

Before you attend an industry business development forum, it's important to do your research. Find out who will be attending, what topics will be covered, and what the agenda is. This will help you prepare and make the most of your time at the event. Here are some specific things to look for:

  • Who will be speaking? Are there any speakers you particularly want to meet or hear from?
  • Who are the other attendees? Are there any potential clients, collaborators, or mentors you want to connect with?
  • What topics will be covered? Are there any sessions or discussions that align with your interests or expertise?
  • What is the agenda? When are the networking opportunities, such as breaks, meals, or receptions?

Chapter 2: Prepare Your Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you can use to spark interest in your product, service, or yourself. It's called an elevator pitch because it should be short enough to deliver during a brief elevator ride. Here are some tips for crafting a compelling elevator pitch:

  • Start with a hook: Grab the listener's attention with a surprising fact, a bold statement, or a question.
  • Introduce yourself: Tell the listener who you are and what you do.
  • Highlight your unique selling proposition: Explain what makes you or your business different from the competition.
  • Make a request: Ask the listener for something specific, such as their contact information or a follow-up meeting.
  • Practice, practice, practice: Rehearse your elevator pitch until it feels natural and confident.

Chapter 3: Dress for Success

First impressions matter, so it's important to dress appropriately for the industry business development forum. Here are some tips for dressing for success:

  • Dress for the occasion: Find out what the dress code is and dress accordingly. If in doubt, err on the side of being slightly overdressed rather than underdressed.
  • Wear comfortable shoes: You may be doing a lot of walking or standing, so make sure your shoes are comfortable.
  • Pay attention to details: Make sure your clothes are clean, pressed, and free of wrinkles. Accessorize appropriately with jewelry, watches, or bags.

Chapter 4: Be an Active Listener

Networking is not just about talking about yourself; it's also about listening to others. Here are some tips for being an active listener:

  • Make eye contact: Look the person in the eye when they are speaking to show that you are engaged and interested.
  • Ask open-ended questions: Encourage the person to share more about themselves by asking questions that can't be answered with a simple yes or no.
  • Listen actively: Show that you are listening by nodding, smiling, and making appropriate comments or responses.
  • Summarize and clarify: Repeat back what you have heard to show that you have understood and to clarify any misunderstandings.

Chapter 5: Follow Up

After the industry business development forum, it's important to follow up with the people you met. Here are some tips for following up:

  • Send a personalized message: Thank the person for their time and mention something specific that you discussed or learned from them.
  • Connect on social media: Follow the person on LinkedIn or other social media platforms to stay connected and continue the conversation.
  • Offer value: If you promised to send someone a resource or introduce them to someone, make sure you follow through.
  • Schedule a follow-up meeting: If you had a promising conversation with someone, suggest scheduling a follow-up meeting to continue the discussion.


Industry business development forums are a valuable opportunity to expand your network and grow your business. By doing your research, preparing your elevator pitch, dressing for success, being an active listener, and following up, you can make the most of these events and build meaningful relationships with other professionals in your field.

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