You’ve taken on the challenge of planning your own event, now it’s time to look at effective ways to get the most out of the events that you attend. The weather is getting warmer, so there’s no excuse for you to be sitting at your desk all day. It’s time to be out and about! Events can be fun, and they can also help you connect with potential clients and build the visibility of your firm.
Here are our best tips for making the most out of networking:
Be prepared. Know the event and who is attending. Make a plan to connect with at least five people that you don’t already know that you’d like to potentially work with down the line.
Do your research. Given the short amount of time you have to meet with each person, it’s crucial to leave a lasting impression. If you aren’t great at thinking on your feet, write out your elevator speech that describes what you do in a way that’s informative and engaging – so it invites further conversation.
Show up early. By arriving early, you will be able to approach people and strike up conversations more easily. It’s more difficult to jump into conversations once the room has begun to get crowded and people form groups. It’s a lot easier to talk to the person standing alone next to the veggies and dip – he would probably welcome the company.
Circulate at the event. Make sure to circulate around the room, and meet and talk to as many people as you can. There is no substitute for strong professional relationships with new people that can bring lasting value. People like to talk about themselves (it’s true!) so be sure to ask a lot of questions.
Follow up. After the event, follow up the next day with a quick email to say hello and reiterate your contact info. Follow up in a reasonable timeframe of two days or less so they remember you. Always connect with them on LinkedIn and add new acquaintances to your contact list.
Don’t forget social media. Find the right moments to Tweet and Instagram during the event, or post the event to LinkedIn. This can bring you more followers and help you get the most out of your investment!
Once you start to network in a smarter, more productive way, you’ll see your firm and your professional network grow. Remember that the successful outcome of any professional event comes from learning new information and, most important, enjoying it as well!
When it comes to marketing your firm, events mean networking. To put your business in front of new potential clients, get out there and attend industry events — like those we highlighted in our first post this month.
Ready to take your networking to the next level? It’s time to host your own event. This requires a significant investment of time and effort, but if you are willing to commit, it can pay off for you in a big way. Hosting your own event, whether on behalf of your firm or a professional organization, gives you positive exposure in front of your clients and potential clients.
Here are our top five strategies for planning your event:
1. Define your objectives: The first step to hosting an event is to decide what you want to get out of it. Is your goal to fundraise for a professional organization, raise the profile of your firm in your industry, or celebrate a milestone like an anniversary? Be specific, because your goal will guide the rest of your decisions throughout the planning process, including your theme, venue, activities, and speakers.
2. Hire an event planner: An event planner will take charge of coordinating the details of the event. They’ll also be there at the event to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. Choose an event planner who comes recommended from someone you trust, and be very specific when communicating your goals for the event to them.
3. Fill the room: Your guest list should be focused on your target list of contacts, including clients and potential clients. You should send a “save the date” announcement to your guest list at least 8 weeks in advance of the event, and follow it several weeks later with an official invitation. Make sure the invitation includes a deadline for RSVPs, which will encourage those invited to respond in a timely fashion.
4. Network: At the event, focus on networking. Make sure to connect with everyone you invited, but don’t get cornered by any one person or group. Without seeming rushed, you need to get in a few words with everyone you invited! Circulate throughout the room, and introduce your clients to each other — you might help them do business together. You should also make a short speech thanking guests for attending.
5. Document the occasion: A dedicated social media point person should post photos and tweets to your social media accounts in real time at the event, and a professional photographer should document it. Afterward, share the photos on your social media and website. Send a thank you e-mail to all who attended and include a link to your album on Facebook or Pinterest.
Posted by Beth Connolly
At long last, spring has arrived, with plenty of bright sunshine and colorful flowers. Now is the time to kick your professional social life into gear. Awaken from your winter slumber and join your industry peers for networking events to build your business while having fun. It’s the season to make new relationships and rekindle old ones!
In our upcoming posts this month, we’ll give you tips for networking at events and for planning your own. But first, to get you started on the right foot, here are the top five professional events catering to the A/E/C industry in New York this spring.
1. Van Alen Institute: The Imprint of the City (May 9 at 7:30PM)
ISSUE Project Room (22 Boerum Place, Brooklyn, NY)
To launch Van Alen Institute’s Spring 2014 Events, the Institute and ISSUE Project Room present a fast-paced medley of music, poetry, personal reflections, conversations, and performances by designers, artists, musicians, writers, social scientists, and others exploring the meaning of well-being, and the effects of the city on our minds and bodies.
2. DoCoMoMo New York – TriState: A Modern Affair (May 13 at 6PM)
Alvar Aalto Rooms at the Edgar J. Kauffman Conference Center (809 United Nations Plaza)
Join DoCoMoMo New York/Tri-State for A Modern Affair in celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the Edgar J. Kauffman Conference Center, designed by renowned Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.
3. On MAKINGOODESIGN: Good-Maker Party (May 15 at 5:30PM)
New York Design Center (200 Lexington Ave)
The first annual MAKINGOODESIGN: Good-Maker Party is co-hosted by Design With Benefits, desigNYC, AIANY ENYA, and Keilhauer at the New York Design Center. Come meet and learn about Good-Maker Thumbs-Up honorees, an innovative group of organizations using design to create change in New York City, and enjoy delicious cocktails, beer, and nibbles.
4. Designer City: How Innovative Solutions Transform Urban Life (May 16 at 7PM)
Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle)
This panel discussion explores how the design industry has improved life for New Yorkers as well as people around the world. Moderated by The New York Times Home section Deputy Editor Julie Lasky, the panel will feature David Burney, associate professor of Architecture, Pratt Institute, and former commissioner of New York City’s Department of Design and Construction; Christine Gaspar, executive director of the Center for Urban Pedagogy; Jason Schupbach, director of design, the National Endowment for the Arts; and Wendy E. Brawer, founder and director, the Green Map System.
This panel is part of NYC x Design, New York’s official city-wide celebration of design. Take a look at their website for a complete list of events taking place from May 9 to 20, 2014.
5. Van Alen Institute Spring Party (May 21, 2014 at 8PM)
The High Line Hotel (180 Tenth Avenue)
The Van Alen Institute concludes its 2014 event season with a Spring Party in celebration of its 120-year legacy and the years to come. Enjoy festive cocktails, light food, and great music by White Prism and Maria Chavez.
Posted by Beth Connolly