I just attended a great networking event in the Twin Cities last night. The event, in its second year, brought together a number of communication groups (IABC, AMA, AdFed, PRSA — hence “alphabet bash”) for the express reason to network contacts and generate leads, ideas and social networks.
Part of the site for the event, which was brilliant, was a section specifically on professional networking. Quick tiips to help you make the most of any business interaction. My favorites from the page:
- Have a positive attitude. It sounds cliché, but if you go in expecting to meet the right people, you will
- Follow-up after meeting with an email, note or call
- Find out how you can help others be successful
- Arrive early and stay late, so you make the most of your networking occasion
- Have a succinct and thoughtful 30-second commercial (to respond to “What do you do?”)
- Beware of holding both food and drink, it makes it difficult to shake hands or give a business card
- Approach people who are standing alone
- Approach informal groups
- “I’m here to meet new people. Do you mind if I join you?”
- “What is your specialty? …your area of expertise? What do you do? What is your connection to this group?”
I made a lot of great contacts, caught up with some old friends, and sent a few emails out today with my top prospects. I haven’t attended a true networking event in over a year, and it was fun to get back into the professional schmoozing vibe, and it was nice to meet up with a huge group (400 registered) of folks looking to do the same. After a while everyone fell into a pretty easy pace, talking and moving around, handing out cards… only broken when the band started playing and it became too hard to hear. Great experience overall.