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Posts Tagged ‘leadership networking’

Having created and hosted my first event, I wanted to give your the early results. It was a small event with 12 attendees. I had planned for 15-20 and there were four last minute cancellations. I was very stressed that the event would be too small, thinking that people would feel it was a waste of their time. I have attended networking events and been disappointed with turnout, I didn’t want people to feel that way at my event.

It didn’t, and here’s why:

  1. Networking wasn’t the focus. The event had a purpose and an activity, other than passing out cards.
  2. I didn’t call it networking. I used the word “social” and it felt like a party.
  3. I had a great room. The studio at Peterson Photography was set up with a couch, coffee table and some small bistro chairs. We spread the food and wine out in three stations so people would gather in small groups and move to get more wine, savory or sweet snacks.
  4. Small can be an advantage. Everyone who attended commented on how happy they were that it wasn’t big “like a networking thing”.
  5. Have someone else run the activity. When I have parties at home, I never get to see the guests. Having the main attraction as the portrait photography, the photographer and her assistant managed moving people in and out and I got to mingle.
  6. Invite some ringers. While my purpose was to meet new prospects, I also invited some colleagues who have become friends. Having a few people I know mixed in made it feel that much more social.
  7. Follow up. In addition to the new connections I made who already have thought of needs, We will be mailing their pictures along with some information as a secondary, subtle reinforcement. Having met both me and the photographer, they are much more likely to read about or businesses now.
  8. Lastly, I cold emailed to a list of 1700 people for four weeks and got only about 40 unsubscribes. If I had done the same thing with a newsletter about my company it would have been mass exodus, crossing those prospects off our list forever. I opened communication by offering something of value positioned well for my prospects and they responded by letting me speak to them.

I had three purposes when creating this event: build the image of my firm, get in the room with great prospects, and warm up an audience so I could email regularly about other programs and eventually other news. It has worked very well and we are in full swing promoting next month’s meatier and more expensive program, Social Media Connections, Making Then Work at Work.

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Iris Creative's Headshot Social

Iris Creative's Headshot Social

If you spend a lot of time networking, consider launching an event of your own. So much of networking feels like the same events, the same food, the same people over and over. Try something new — host your own event. The advantages of creating your own event include:

•  Being seen as a leader

•  Potential alternate revenue from event sales

•  Inviting the people you want to meet and get to know better

•  An opportunity to connect with your contacts without directly selling

Not to mention an actual event to pitch for PR. It is no longer news that you launched a new website. An interesting event can bring press coverage and attention to your firm and your expertise.

At Iris Creative, we are launching two events in the upcoming months. The first is a small event titled “The Headshot Social”. We have invited local leaders from business and nonprofit to come and get an inexpensive professional portrait in a relaxed and social atmosphere. No one likes to get their picture taken, but executives need a quality shot for use in press, writing, speaking and other marketing. An individual session can cost hundreds and you really only need one image you don’t hate. If you’re in Philadelphia August 19th, join us. http://www.iriscreative.com/headshotsocial

The next event scheduled is a four session workshop on social media called “Beyond the Profile”. For marketers and professionals who have signed up on one or more social media sites but not really figured out what to do next, how social networking adds value or how to integrate it into marketing — this series is the perfect fit. The workshop will be held on four Tuesday mornings from 8-10 in Lafayette Hill, Pa, just outside of Philadelphia. The first session is September 15. More information will come. If you would like to be added to the list, please email info@iriscreative.com

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