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  • Networking perspective based on experience and observation by relationship builder, Jason Jacobsohn

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August 24, 2007


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Dr. Pete

My former company was in event services, and this is all great advice. I especially agree with offering to help; events always need more help, and it's amazingly easy to get involved. Even becoming a speaker at some events is shockingly easy, and any involvement not only helps you meet people, but it builds credibility.

I would also highly recommend solid follow-up. Even salespeople are notoriously bad with following up on tradeshow/conference leads. Touch base with people about 3 days after you get home (give them time to get home as well) and, where possible, share resources from the event they might not have picked up (or just give them a couple of insights you had).

Jason Jacobsohn

Thanks Pete. I agree that follow-up is very important. Most people don't follow up so if you do this, you will stand out. Thanks for the reminder of how important this is. Without proper follow-up, the relationships that you have begun to build won't mean anything.

Oliver Picher

These are all great ideas. I especially like the suggestion of holding your own post-conference event. If done right, it would really reinforce your personal brand and influence.

The idea of holding your own "mini-event" reminded me of something I've done at a few of the conferences that my employer either sponsored or hosted. (I was director of public relations, so my goal here was to get good stories about our company, but the effort turned out to be an excellent tool for networking.)

I would create an invitation-only roundtable that focused on a "burning topic" that people would want to discuss and that my target magazine would want to write about. Then I would comb through the attendee list to find people with the right background and right title, and I would invite 8 or 10 of them to join the roundtable. I would also engage some of my company's executives to be on the roundtable.

The resulting discussions were eye-opening, and the attendees would thank me afterwards for setting up the meeting and involving them in it. Here's what was really great about the roundtables: our company made customers out of several of the companies that participated in the roundtables!

There is no reason something similar couldn't be done even without a reporter present (might actually be better). The trick is to have a really HOT topic that will engage people, get the right people to attend, and then plan, plan, plan for how to keep the discussion exciting (have 8 to 10 open-ended questions to throw out for discussion, and have a pithy point of view -- backed up by research -- on a few key areas).

Jason Jacobsohn

Thanks Oliver for sharing what you did in the past. It sounds like it was a very effective technique to generate leads and ultimately some new clients. Roundtable discussions can be a great way for people to connect and share stories. Part of the reason these work so well is that they are peer based.

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