To go or not to go … to networking events
As the ones responsible for developing business, we are faced with a dizzying array of choices for networking. Its not infrequent that I’m asked: “Should I go to this event?” “Where should I be going to meet people?”
Here’s good old kitchen table wisdom from my mother who is a pioneering entrepreneur in the travel industry (I am very proud of her!) Whenever I try to make a decision, still to this day she says: “Did you take out your yellow pad…”
So…take out a yellow pad and make 2 columns: What are the networking events/groups/conferences, etc. that you’ve gone to. First column: How much did it cost you to go? Second column you can write two things: What result did you get in the short term (within the year) from that event/membership? What result have you gotten over the long term (> 1 year)
Now that the tax man deadline is breathing down our necks, its a perfect time to review where your income has come in over the last year. Then you are in a position to establish your “return on investment” of time and money. Not high tech, but it works.
Also, when it comes to attending events. I used to do the ‘spray and pray’ approach, and ran myself ragged going anywhere I there might be “good people” (generic) to meet. I was more motivated by trying not to ‘miss out’ on opportunities. Now I’m much more strategic. I am more thoughtful about the crowd who will be there and do what I can to determine whether there will be decision makers, people who can afford my services, or simply cool people I want to hang out with.
Also – and this is key – I’m much less likely to go to an event where I’m “just another person”. I’m more likely to go to an event or meeting where I can stand out – such as speak at the event or help to host the event. Then I’m in a position to walk up to anyone at the event and feel comfortable starting a conversation, and I have the energy of the hostess making people feel welcome.
What can you do to start standing out at networking events?
I hope this helps you be more intentional about how you spend your time networking. Please let me know if my mom’s kitchen pad wisdom was helpful for you so I can let her know 😉