Guru Guidance Tips Series3Vol3

20 Mar, 2014

Guru Guidance Tips: The Scoop on Business Development and Industry Events

Guru Guidance  
Blog Types

Read time: 1 minute, 59 seconds

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The Scenario

A marketing coordinator is encouraged to attend industry events (such as networking, pre-proposal conferences, and social gatherings) to get experience with “business development,” but isn’t provided with coaching or specific goals.

What should she do when she gets there?

  • Before arrival, she should determine what types of events are the most appropriate for her firm to be represented at and establish target events/people to pursue.
  • Upon arrival, she should be prepared with business cards, appropriate dress, an elevator speech, and talking points that she wants to be sure to touch on with potential new contacts.

How can she meet new people?

  • Find other new, “first time” attendees and strike up a conversation; chances are they’re looking for someone new to talk to as much as you are.
  • Find the host/someone working the event and ask if they need assistance, or could make introductions
  • Show up early to eliminate risk of people “grouping together” before you arrive
  • Find people at the event with similar backgrounds/professions
  • Follow up with those you meet and keep in touch to make meaningful connections
  • If you aren’t going to know anyone, call ahead and see if they’ll assign an ambassador
  • Remember that networking is a two-way street, you should ask alot of questions and listen.
  • If the event seems very “clique-y”, try to be brave and approach people to “break the ice.” Consider too that the “clique” may themselves be feeling too shy to break out.
  • Remember that conversation can start at the bar or buffet, or even in line for the restroom.
  • As you become a “regular” still make it a goal to mingle and meet new people, rather than only talking with those you already know.

What should she plan to achieve?

  • Sit down with supervisor and set goals to determine what they would like you to get out of the event (new contacts, client information, etc.)
  • Set guidelines for future employees to use in regards to networking (set precedents)
  • Share information with other staff after the event
  • Evaluate the event afterwards to determine Return on Investment (is it worth going to again?)
  • Use the event as a personal learning experience to determine your own skills and what worked well vs. what you can improve upon at the next event

How would her approach differ at various types of industry events?

  • Determine what staff member(s) would be most appropriate to attend the event based on the type and what is needed (marketing person, project manager, principal, etc.)
  • Know what information will be most likely asked of you/requested and be prepared
  • Determine target groups to reach based on event
  • Know what’s important in that area (both industry and geographic area)
  • Be sure you know what key points your supervisor(s) to make sure you’re giving the impression and making the key points that they want you to
Curious about the Guru Guidance Program? Get more info here. Read Part 1 and Part 2 of the Guru Guidance series.