Sunday, January 6, 2008

Secret for Networking at Events - Prenetworking

I've never been able to walk into a large group of people and feel like I can "work the room." Sure, I've read various articles on this stuff, but honestly, I still struggle with meeting interesting people. I seem to be very adept at meeting financial planners, attorneys, accountants, etc. - and after 10 seconds of conversation, I'm at a loss. I can make small talk with them, but unless I'm going to see this person a few times or unless they have a tech specialization, ummm, not the best use of time or energy.

Luckily, I've found a GREAT way to make my time spent at events much better. It's probably no secret to anyone else, but I've only started doing it about 6 months ago and the results have been fantastic. What do I do? I call it:

Prenetworking

I spend about 30 minutes prior to the event going through the list of attendees and reaching out ahead of the event to suggest that we meet while we are there.

A few notes on this:

1. I try to do this roughly about 2-3 days ahead of the event. That way the list of people attending is fairly complete and there's still time for back and forth with the person.

2. I always make sure that there's at least 3 people attending that I want to meet prior to sending any notes. I had one situation where I sent a note only to find that was the only person I wanted to meet. Then I couldn't back out.

3. I have a right click option in my browser to search LinkedIn for anyone by name. I'm not even sure how this came to be, but it is a great way to get details on individuals when their profile is not detailed enough.

4. Many organizations, including a couple that I'm involved in, do not publish the attendee list ahead of time. I've generally stopped going to those events. There are enough events where I can prenetwork to 3-5 people who will be great to meet. Why chance going somewhere when I may not meet anyone that makes it worth my time.

5. Sometimes you can be creative to see a possible attendee list. Twistup3 is coming up here in LA, but doesn't appear to list attendees (btw, cmon Twistup, get with it). However, there's a Facebook group, a few presenter companies, that you can look through. You can also publish that you are considering going to the event on your Facebook profile and see if anyone comments on it.

For more discussions on networking and LinkedIn see Networking Events in Los Angeles and Southern California, Secret for Networking at Events – Prenetworking, Pre-network with LinkedIn, Local Event Organizers Need to Adopt Social Media.

2 comments:

Mike Macadaan said...

Hey Tony, great post. Just wanted to let you know that Twiistup's attendees are always listed at: http://www.twiistup.com/who

You may have missed the list because you have to scroll down past the logos. Another way to get the list is by going to the reg page: http://twiistup3.eventbrite.com/

I see you on the list so if you want to do any pre-networking with me, I'm at: mike@twiistup.com

Looking forward to meeting you!
Mike

Florence Wei said...

Hi Tony, we just started a event planning website with social networking tools. Attendees can see who else is going and email each other without revealing their personal email. Please check it out www.aitito.com

Florence
florence@aitito.com