Sunday, December 11, 2011

Defining Your Destination

As we discussed last week, knowing who you want to meet by name or discipline is essential if you want to be effective at networking events.

Reminder: The goal of going to events is to figure out who to meet with one-on-one to for networking purposes not to prospect.

The best circumstance is to know who you want to meet by name before you walk into the networking event. To do this, you must first know:

  1. Who is expected to be in the room?
    • What type of group is it?
    • Who is the audience?
  2. What needs you have?
    • Are you looking to fill a key position?
    • Is a client of yours looking for an important resource?
    • Are you looking to expand your pool of centers of influence?
  3. Who you want to meet by discipline?
    • Which disciplines will be good referral sources for the needs that you have?
    • Is there someone at the event who will be able to introduce you to people from these disciplines?
If you have time and a good relationship with the host organization the next step is to:

  1. Get a list of the projected attendees 24-48 hours before the event
  2. With your target disciplines in mind, identify the individuals who you want to meet
  3. Call each target individual before the event to confirm their attendance and let them know that you are hoping to meet them - only about 70% of the people who sign-up for events show-up - calling the people who you want to meet ahead of time to assure their attendance will not only help you meet them at the event, but it will give you a ready made reason to follow-up with them should they no show-up

Even if you’re not able to get the projected attendee list before the event the knowledge of what disciplines you would like to meet at this specific event will allow you to:

  1. Kibitz with the host or event facilitators at the door to get introductions to the people who you want to meet
  2. Connect through other attendees to the people who you want to meet
  3. Review the name tags on the way into the event to find some people representing the disciplines that you want to meet, note the names, and make sure that you connect with them
Good networking is about making efficient and valuable connections. Knowing your destination at events will help you take the straightest line between where you are and building relationships with the key people who you need to meet.

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