THE ART OF MEETING, GREETING AND FOLLOWING THROUGH IN A NETWORK EVENT
We all know there are many types of network events and we as professionals or business people and some of us as salespeople try to go to as many as we are able to so we can derive contacts, eventually relationships and eventually business and closed transactions no matter what field we are in.
So how can we take advantage of all these opportunities?
-Yes try to go to as many as you can, myself I pick events that bring me some kind of learning like I can meet people but always something new so I can expand my horizons. I take advantage mostly of free events or at a low cost. If you look at some of the invitations coming your way, some of these events are so expensive, that by the end of the month these events will be a burden to you at the end of the month. For instance I try to go to the events that are promoted by groups I have a membership with, like the Chambers (so many good ones that bring you so many opportunities to meet others in the same field as you or associated industries that make sense) you can ask me for lists or suggestions for these events.
-Once you have the event you will attend, do a little research on the event, like dress code (always, always look professional even it is an outdoor event like a barbecue, never look sloppy, as image is the most important in these events) but also research the people that will attend, if you know some of your contacts that you want to develop more of a relationship are attending, you can send these people a little message or email stating that you will also attend and you hope to connect with that person at the event.
-If for instance you know that the person you want to connect with is the speaker, do the same thing , send a message or an email encouraging that person on their speaking presentation and that you look forward in hearing that person speak and you will be there. If that person knows you already, once you go in the room, the person will feel good that they have a following and that will encourage them to even do a better job.
-Ourselves when we know that one of our Members has a speaking engagement, we try our best to be able to attend so they understand that our memberships are not about money but about relationships and that they can count on our support in any circumstance.
-When you get to the network event, have a smile in your face, put your shoulders down, straighten your back, enter the room with confidence, and open your mind to new contacts and opportunities. A smile says hello in the best way possible and if people ignore you (yes that has happened to me many times), smile again, open your mouth and say hello again, if it doesn’t work bump a little bit on the person you want to meet, laugh about a little, say you are sorry for bumping and introduce yourself. The other person will definitely remember you. I have hit people with my shoulder, bag, coat, but nobody ever got mad at me as they understand it is an accident……….and some of them we have started a good connection with.
-If you get the person’s attention, and you can have that minute to make an impression, say something positive, sometimes might be that they look fantastic and you mean it , or maybe they have a great hairdo, or a great pair of shoes (shoes are my favorite) . A compliment as long as it is genuine will take you a long way. The person that receives the compliment warms up immediately and now you have their attention to start the conversation.
-Don’t take too long on the conversation, don’t go through all the details of your life story, instead listen to the other person you just met. Make them feel at ease and show interest. Then you will start your connection with that person. Remember a network meeting is not just about collecting cards but connecting and eventually develop a valuable collaboration.
-Once you leave, send a note to the person you met and tell them how much you enjoyed meeting them and ask for a meeting just so you can expand your contact, who knows that person might be the one that will bring you a great partnership or transaction.
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