Networking events and mixers

Hi there, I am getting together information for local networking events and mixers in my area and was wondering what other VA's have done at these events? Did you just walking around and mingle promoting your business or did you have a table set up with marketing tools such as brochures, business cards, pens, notepads, etc where people can come up and talk to you?

I was actually thinking of trying both. Part of the time I would stand by the table and at other times I would walk around and mingle while having someone man the table for me so I can reach out to those who hadn't come by the table.
 

Susankelly

New Member
Hi Jessica,

I'm actually writing a book on in person networking! I have a rough draft right now, LOL are you a proofreader by chance?

What to take depends on the type of event and how they are run. I go to the Chamber of Commerce networking events in our town and all the towns within about 20 miles. They are all "after hours networking" meaning after work 5:30-7. Usually held in a members restaurant or business. Ours have appetizers and wine. At these sorts of events no one hands out anything but business cards. No promo items at all. We all walk around and mingle.

But there are events where you get a table and things are handed out. If you are unsure how each event is run, call or email the organizer. They want you to have fun, fit in and enjoy (it's often their job). So tell them it's your first time to this sort of event and what can I expect? Specifically ask if promotional items are handed out. That's what I did and better yet when I told the organizers that it was my first time, they asked me to find them at the event and they'd introduce me to some peeps.

Have fun!
 
Thanks Susan! This was real helpful information. I'm really interested in reading your book once it is done. If you need a someone to look over it I wouldn't mind proof reading it for you :) good luck with the book.
 

LuzDonahue

VAF Community Leader
I can't wait to see this book Susan!

Personally, I think the 'swag' is unnecessary to an extent. I think everyone has a bit of a different personality. I enjoy networking events but I'm actually an introvert. I prefer to talk to just a few people and really get to know them. The I give them a cute/memorable card and try to follow up by email.

I try to get to know them personally and I have lots of connections from years ago where that was what I did. My take is that it's important to figure out what works for you and it may take some experimenting.

I'm interested in seeing what everyone else has to say.
 

deedallas

New Member
Thank Ladies. This advise is MOST Helpful. I will go to the Chambers of Commerce in my area once I get all of my orrs n a roll so to speak. Good Luck to All....
 

Tamara

New Member
Susan, your book is going to be a big hit! This area is difficult for many people (including me). I know from following you on this board that you created your VA business from local networking. I’m sure you will have some pure gold nuggets of wisdom to pass on to us.

I’ve gone to two different types of networking events and only brought my business card. The first one was an expo, which had tables set up with a room full of vendors. Although I’m more of an ambivert (not a true extrovert or introvert), I found this room full of people and activity overwhelming. However, I walked around and spoke with those that I felt drawn to (mostly women) and just asked them about their business. I explained to them that I was new at this, and that I was there to observe and see what kind of services they felt were needed to help them be successful in their business. This took the whole “sales” pressure off of me. I actually ended up connecting with a web designer and have met her for coffee more than once.

The second event I attended was more of the after work cocktail/appetizer hour. I felt a little more comfortable at this event after attending the large expo. I spoke with several people and have connected with a couple from the event. I’m always surprised at how I always dread going to these and think that it won’t be helpful and that it’s not my thing, and I always come out meeting someone who turns out to be either a good connection or a friend. It’s all about building relationships and not about trying to sell. That’s probably been my biggest take away.
 

tmccroskey

New Member
I recently did a networking event for Artists. I had a table set up with my services. I raffled off gift certificates, collected email and names. I really enjoyed this because I didn't have to sale to people who weren't interested. It was great!
 
Top