Most of us are used to certain comfortable patterns
in our business lives. However, working a room at a conference or
networking event stretches this comfort zone to encompass new skills
and techniques. To win in today's marketplace we have to be constantly
looking for business and taking advantage of opportunities whenever
1. Before the Event
- Plan ahead. Learn about the event and who will be there.
- Set your goals. What do you want to accomplish at the event
both personally and professionally.
- Prepare yourself with positive self talk. To overcome any anxiety,
ask yourself "What is the worst thing that can happen and
can I handle it?"
- Prepare your self introduction. Plan a sentence or two to give
people a positive experience of you.
2. At the Event
- Your entrance. Take a deep breath, stand tall and move into
the room with confidence.
- The buddy system. Use a colleague to introduce one another around
and develop a rescue system.
- Name tags. Place your name tag on your right side.
- Business cards. Remember your business cards but hand them out
discriminately after you have established rapport.
- Opening lines. Plan an opening line in the form of an upbeat
observation, or an open ended question.
- Breaking and entering. Approach groups of three or more. When
you feel yourself included through verbal acknowledgment or eye
contact, join the conversation.
- Disengaging. Remember you are supposed to circulate. You should
spend no more than 5-6 minutes with one person.
3. After the Event
- Follow up within 7 days of the event.
- Send a handwritten note acknowledging your meeting
- Provide feedback on actions you have taken as a result of your
- Continue to look for opportunities to develop new contacts and
manage old ones.
Barry Siskind is President of International Training
and Management, a training company specializing in exhibitor training
and business networking. He is the author of Making Contact
and The Successful Exhibitor. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call
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