As I write this newsletter, I am making preparations to speak about networking to the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants at Amelia Island, Florida. Now there is a group whose expertise I need. The writer in me has suppressed the numbers side of me. I am extremely grateful for accountants and people with a love for math. While they do what they enjoy, I am free to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. My message to this group is one I would like to share with you as one of my loyal subscribers.
Networking is a very broad topic, I am choosing to focus on one piece of it for the purpose of this newsletter. The attention is on planned business/social events and how to prepare for them. It is not the usual "how to work the event" topic. This is about preparing for the event in advance. Consider these questions before you head out the door:
1. What is the event? Read the invitation carefully. Check to see if it is a cocktail reception with heavy hors d'oeuvres, breakfast, lunch or dinner. No matter what refreshments or meals are provided, eat something before you go so you can focus on the business connections and not the food and drink.
2. Why is it being held? What is the reason for having this event? Is it purely for bringing a business group or groups together? Is it a fund-raiser? Is it to share information about the host organization or a thank you to their clients? Is it to lure new clients?
3. Who will be there? If you have any questions about the other people who have been invited, ask. Call the person or organization who sent the invitation. Most likely, they will be happy that you care and more than willing to share that information, if not by name, by organization.
4. What will I talk about? Never, ever go to an event without some conversation starters in your head. Read the paper, listen to the news, research the host organization so you are ready to talk to anyone you meet. Have three topics you can discuss if there is a lull in the conversation.
5. What should I wear? This is not simply a woman's issue. Check to see what the recommended attire is. If the terminology is not clear, put that question on your list for the event planner or sponsor. "Business attire" and "business casual" mean different things to different people.
Proper planning can serve you well and help to avoid embarrassing moments. Remember that advance preparation adds the polish that builds profits!
P.S. If you would like to help your employees get the most out of their business networking hire me to present "Networking Magic".
About Lydia Ramsey
Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, executive etiquette coach, professional speaker and author of Manners That Sell™, offering keynotes and seminars to corporations, associations, colleges and universities. To learn more about Lydia, her services and products, go to her website, Manners That Sell.
If you would like to have Lydia speak at your next meeting or conference contact her online or call her at 912-598-9812.
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