We live in a busy, busy world in the era of information overload. We have many commitments throughout the day (and week) that make scheduling our time super important. We need a plan for our work-week and that includes making the most of the networking events we attend.
How many networking events do you attend each week, each month? Do you have a plan (of attack) before you attend an event, or create goals for when you are there?
Planning ahead and doing the work in the moment will help you maximize your networking experience.
When I attend a networking event, I like to create a goal (or intention) of what I want to get out of the event and how many new people I would like to meet. For instance: Last week I attended a morning networking meeting here in NYC. I decided before I walked in, to write down my intention in my journal: Meet 6 new people and exchange my card with 10 or more. I also wanted to schedule calls or coffee sessions with 3 people. When you track your goal… you are focused on making it a reality.
Make sure you are honest (and real) with your goals. Be objective.
Now what happens during the networking event you attend?
Let’s talk about business cards. We collect and exchange business cards today like no other time before. It’s time to think of a plan to use the business cards during an event to our advantage. This will translate into how we follow up with all the people and connections we met at events.
Here are 3 tips to help keep your networking on track by maximizing your time and using the business cards you collect to your advantage.
Tip #2: When you meet a person and exchange cards make sure you write the Details of the event you are attending directly on the card.
- the name of event,
- the date,
- a fun fact about who that person is,
- or what you discussed in your conversation.
This way when you look over your business cards weeks or months from now, you still remember who you met and where you met them.
You can always mention to a person:
- I’m meeting many people (as I’m sure you are as well) so let me write this down.
- I don’t want to forget, let me jot this down.
Making people feel heard and important is great. So don’t worry about pulling out a pen and writing directly on someone’s card. Write something on every card you receive. Even if it’s just a reminder not to call this person…
The most powerful tool is the one that is being used so be consistent.
Tip #3: CREATE a label system: give a 1, 2, 3 for the type of lead 1- hot; 2- warm; 3-cold.
This is helpful for knowing who to follow up with first, and who can wait. — It’s about the follow-up. How you define what is a hot, warm, or cold lead is up to you and who you are looking to meet in your business.
o The best advice I have is to be consistent with your labeling.
o You follow-up with the#1’s first, followed by #2 then #3.
SO when you get home from an event and return back to your daily rhythm – what happens? Do you have a plan for your follow-up? Create an intention around your follow-up; it’s good to SET goals for your follow-up as well.
Using these steps (of writing down details and creating a label system) during an event will help with the follow-up when you return home. Planning ahead will save you time later on.
- There is NO such thing as follow-up is too late.
- You just might change how and what you say to them…
- Doing something is better than not doing something.
- It’s more important that you follow up then how you follow up
- CALL or email – you might be contacting at just the right time that person needs you.
- If you care about what service you offer – you just contact them.
Many coaches feel that a phone call is the way to follow-up, and some feel that email works as well… The most important part to note is do what is COMFORTABLE FOR YOU!
BONUS: 3 conversation enders – the best way to move forward from a conversation, so that you are not chatting with the same person for the whole event, and can get the most out of your networking.
- Let’s schedule a call to chat more. Shall I call you on Wednesday or Thursday?
- Use open ended questions, as you’ll get a better response from the other person.
- Let’s get coffee and chat more. What’s your schedule next week?
- You can also suggest a date, if you know what works best for your calendar.
- Find out who they want to meet at this event, so if you run into someone at the event that fits this description, you can share the info or make a connection.
- Make quick introductions for them to other attendees at the event.
- Let’s go meet other people! Who do you want to meet?
- Encourage them (or playfully challenge them) to meet other people.
People will remember your willingness to help with the networking process.
To learn more ways to simplify your life contact me: amy (at) amyneiman (dot) com or (917) 426-2106.