Meeting the RIGHT people at a networking event

If you are going to be at a networking event, you better know with
whom you intend to spend time. As much fun as it is to go to these
events and talk to folks you already know, that isn’t your purpose.
Afterall, you went to be a networker, not a social butterfly, right?
So here are three tips that will help you maximize your time at an event.

1. Check the list of attendees. Sometimes you will be able to see
who is there long before the event happens. If at all possible, check
this list and find the types of people you need to meet.
Strategically plan your time Realize that ideally you will spend less than
10 minutes with each of these people getting to know them if
there is one hour allocated for networking, realize that you will only
get to speak to 6 people on your list. You would be wise to remember
that just because you are looking to speak with them, they may not be
looking to speak with you. In fact, they will likely already be
engaged in conversation when you find them allowing them time to
finish that conversation will likely throw you off of your schedule.
And thats ok.

There will also be times when there is a list of attendees, but that
list is only available at the event itself. Not to worry. You know
how to read the list and find the type of people you seek. Quickly
scan the list, make note of who you want to meet and go meet them.
Pretty simple, right?

Ahh, but what to do when no lists exist? This is where you need to be
a little creative. There are a couple of people you should target if
you find yourself in thi predicament.

The first is the host. Why? Because they are most likely the ones
that created the list that you didnt get. They know the most people
in the room. It should become your task to go speak with them, tell
them the types of people you wish to meet and see if you cant get them
to make an introduction or two. Realize that they are likely to be
very busy with heir hosting duties. If they cant introduce you
personally make sure that you ask if its okay that you use their name.
That way you can say to your new contact “i was speaking with hosts
name and they told me you were someone i had to meet”

So we agree that the host is busy. Heck, they may not even be in the
same spot long enough for you to track them down. The next person you
should look to befriend is the one with the largest gathering around
them. In most instances, these folks are the connectors in the room;
the ones who know a lot of people and a lot of people know them.
Utilize the same approach that you would use with the host and ask
them for their help. Its amazing how willing people are to oblige if
you simply and specifically ask for help.

Following these simple tips should help you get connected to the
people you want to meet in a much more efficient manner. And if you
can connect with the exact people you need to meet quickly, you just
made way better use of your networking time.

What’s your approach?

This post assumes you know exactly who you want to meet…if you don’t, check back tomorrow for ideas on how to figure that out 😉

3 Responses to “Meeting the RIGHT people at a networking event”

  1. 1 charliecurve Wednesday, July 9 at 3:16 am

    Another great nugget of wisdom, Terry. Thanks for sharing.

    Another good tip (via Derek Mehraban at the Motor City Connect lunch today): Be the unofficial greeter.

    Most of the folks attending the event don’t know anybody either. Stand near the sign-in table and welcome everyone to the event. You’ll be at ease because you’re doing your helping people find their way and you’ll have first dibs on chatting the good contacts.

  2. 2 Karen Swim Wednesday, July 9 at 3:53 pm

    Terry, this is truly advice that everyone can use. In person networking is often difficult for many and I have heard over and over people comment on these “events” being a waste of time. Your tips will help people to enjoy better networking experiences.

  3. 3 Rosalind Friday, August 9 at 1:47 pm

    Very good information. Lucky me I came across your website by chance (stumbleupon).
    I’ve bookmarked it for later!

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