Giving It a Second Go – Planning to Network

I realized it’s been a while since I’ve posted info from the book. I’m slowly nearing the end of Parker’s book and am debating what to do once I’ve finished it. Go on to another book? Just keep writing my life? I’m not sure yet. If you have a preference, let me know in the comments. The main reason I choose to start the blog by discussing topics in the book was to give me a place to turn when I needed a bit of inspiration on what to write about. Yet, I find that hasn’t been a problem as often as I’d expected it to be.

Tomorrow night, I’m going to have a shot to apply my new networking tips (more tips here) again. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I’ve signed up to attend a networking event from 6-10. That seems to me to be a long time – four whole hours! but I’m going to go and give it my best shot. Parker has a few tips for preparing for these events:

- Set a few goals before the meeting: My goals for tomorrow night are simple. I hope to meet at least a few new people, exercise my growing networking muscle, and show myself yet again that the walls won’t fall down if I’m not there to hold them up. I’ll be very happy with the evening if by the end of the night I have one prospect and I’ve met at least three people–which shouldn’t be impossible for a four hour event.

-Have a supply of business cards conveniently at hand: I recently had mine printed, so I have a whole box. Tonight before I go to bed I’ll pack a handful (or more) in my purse for tomorrow.

-Put out samples or brochures if appropriate: I don’t think it’s appropriate for this particular event. However, I am reviewing my portfolio in my head, and thinking about assignments I’ve done previously so that if someone asks about examples of my work, I can talk about one or two in-depth, and in a way that makes them sound interesting.

-Prepare a short description of your business in case public introductions are called for. Be sure to include something listeners will remember: Essentially, this should be my elevator pitch. I feel a little dumb because I don’t really have an elevator pitch (creating one should be one of the first marketing steps any individual takes), but I’m working on it; after I put up this post, that’s my other goal for tonight. Writing, editing and polishing a elevator pitch.

-Avoid talking or sitting only with people that you know: This definitely won’t be a problem, since I don’t know anyone at the event. I am, however, going to browse through the list of people who’ve RSVPed tomorrow during my lunch break, and see if there are any people in particular I’d be interested in meeting.

-Spend enough time with each person you meet to learn something about that individual: For any person I meet, the goal is to find out at least three things about them; then, once I’ve finished talking to them, to jot those three things down on the back of their business card (or in a small notebook that I carry in my purse) so that I can remember those points later. I have a horrible memory, and it’s only worse when I’m meeting a bunch of people all at once.

-Follow up on good prospects within a week: My goal is to meet at least one prospect, and I’ll probably follow up with them by next Tuesday (since Monday is memorial day); the way I see it, it’s sort of like that unwritten dating rule: if you follow up too soon, you’ll see desperate. If you wait too long, you’ll seem uninterested. The trick is to be in the middle. Maybe that’s silly, but that’s just how my brain works.

I’ll be sure to let you know how the event tomorrow goes!

*Items above in italics are points Parker made in Chapter 8 – Selling Your Services.

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