Tag Archives: networking

Irina Krasnyanskaya

Janet Falk spoke about Networking to 40 women professionals and members of “Risky Women.”  Her presentation was excellent. She gave practical tips and step-by-step guidance on how to prepare BEFORE attending a networking event, how to interact with people there and how to follow-up afterwards. There was a lively Q&A and everyone was fully engaged in the discussion. I highly recommend Janet as a speaker for your organization.

My Anniversary. Your Gift.

Ten tips to maximize your anniversary celebration

This month marks 15 years for me as a solo-preneur Public Relations and Marketing Communications professional.

I celebrate this milestone with a gift to you, an e-book: 25 Tips to Prepare for Your Next Conference. Request a copy.

Here’s my story. I hung up my single shingle in January 2009.

You may recall it was a challenging time for a new business venture. It was the depths of the financial crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had lost more than 50% of its value between May and December 2008. Corporate layoffs were an everyday occurrence.

For these 15 years, it’s been my pleasure and an education to learn about your business.

Together, we’ve connected with reporters, potential clients, networking contacts, vendors and referral sources.

We’ve polished your website and LinkedIn profile, plus edited your articles, speeches, presentations and marketing materials.

In appreciation of your support, your business and our warm relationship, I thank you for standing with me. I would not be here for 15 years without you.

As for corporate anniversary celebrations:

  • I composed text for an industry trade association marking its 20th year; the booklet was distributed to the membership at a gala awards dinner.
  • I produced a 70th anniversary brochure for a family-owned business; plus, I wrote the speeches the company executives gave at the celebratory breakfast.

Perhaps you will agree the people who care the most about an anniversary are the insiders: the founders, leaders, employees and members. Clients may notice to a lesser degree.

When you mark your anniversary, keep your inner circle in focus at all times.

Accordingly, here are ten suggestions for how to promote the news of your successes over the years, the knowledge you’ve gained and shared, plus the longevity of your business. Take note of the most appropriate recommendations:

  1. Pick a date. It can be the date your company incorporated, you launched your website or you signed your first client.
  2. Review your resources, both physical and digital. How will you incorporate a reference to the anniversary year and update your materials? A modified logo is often the simplest way to spruce up your existing materials with a tagline referring to the anniversary celebration. Add it to your company’s website and the email signature of employees.
  3. Compose a short history of the organization with milestone achievements: a new location, a new service, an expanded product line. Decide whether this history will be a brochure, e-book or video and contract with a professional to produce it.
  4. Incorporate visual elements. Assemble photos, perhaps a map of prior locations or areas served, and previous versions of your logo to add color to the narrative.
  5. Share the anniversary announcement in newsletters tailored to employees, clients and referral sources, expressing gratitude for their role in your success and longevity.
  6. Contact the media and offer your perspective on the state of the industry, from your launch date to today, and how the landscape has changed. Provide a forecast on what lies ahead. Add your strategy for the future and how your values will help you achieve it.
  7. Send a printed thank you card to employees, clients and referral sources to recognize their contributions to your success. Acknowledge key people with an individual card and perhaps a gift.
  8. As the budget permits, create a commemorative item, something useful and more unique than a T-shirt or pen.
  9. Make a charitable donation to a nonprofit group whose mission aligns with your industry. Endow a scholarship at a college or university, whether local or an alma mater of the founder.
  10. Host an event to acknowledge employees and clients. Consider a family day in the spring.

This Month’s Tip

Document the anniversary and spread the word. Take photos and create informal videos of the activities underway. For example, compare the new anniversary logo with the one in use and describe the process of designing it. All events should be captured; these photos and video can be shared on your company’s website and social media accounts.


Check the calendar. It’s never too soon to plan for your next anniversary or milestone.  Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s set a date to discuss making your celebration memorable.

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Image credit: OpenClipArt.org

Tell Me About Your Highlight of the Year

Ideas for cocktail conversation.

Are you looking forward to the meetings and holiday parties scheduled in December?

As you celebrate the close of a productive year, consider what you will talk about with your colleagues, clients, contacts and friends.

Try this perennial question:

     What was the highlight of the year for you?

If it is a business-related event, add this prompt to confirm your genuine interest in learning about them and a project they completed with a client:

What is something you did for a client, that would not have happened, if you were not involved?

In our culture, it often is unseemly to brag.

Leaders and coaches say, “There is no ‘I‘ in team.”

Turn that upside down.

In order to better connect with someone, you give them this opportunity to brag and show off how they uniquely contributed to a client’s success.

This approach yields valuable insights about this person:

    • What sort of clients do they work with
    • What kinds of problems do they solve
    • What types of solutions do they bring to the table

Then, having heard their brief narrative, you may dig deeper.

No matter what they’ve said, continue with:

That sounds hard. How did you do that?

This question opens the door for additional details and for you to get a fuller picture of their work, their industry, their clients and so on.

What if it’s a social gathering?

The highlight question works the same way. Here’s what your acquaintance might mention:

    • They achieved a personal or chronological milestone
    • They visited a distant place
    • They started or finished a pet project

In this case, the follow-up question, How did you do that, may be inappropriate.

Instead, perhaps focus on the emotion the person felt, their sense of accomplishment or the people with whom they shared the experience.

There’s always a highlight, whether professionalor personal.

This Month’s Tip

Be prepared when your contact likes the highlight question so much they repeat it back to you. Review your list of successful projects; select a few that are the most indicative of the clients you work with, the problems you solve and the skills you bring to these situations. Consider anecdotes and events of a more personal nature as well.


Plan ahead for your holiday cocktail chatter. Let’s brainstorm a few questions and your own responses. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Talking about a highlight with your contact can lead you both to celebrate the holiday season on a high note.

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Andrew Schulkind

I’ve sat through a lot of networking meetings with well-meaning business people reciting their all-about-me elevator pitches. Mine was better than most, but with so low a bar, that still didn’t make it good. It just didn’t deliver any real value to the audience.

Janet’s ideas helped me energize my pitch, sharpen its focus, and clarify the benefits we deliver to our clients.

And it’s different enough from the usual uninspired intros that it has literally turned heads.

Thank you, Janet!

Find Golden Contacts in Your Association’s Directory

Directory Pixabay notebook-g2d029f835_1280 Salome Maydron

Peruse the listings for colleagues, consultants and referral sources.

One of the benefits of a membership association is your listing in the organization’s directory.

When you join the group, you are invited to fill out their standard form for your listing. which usually includes:

  • Name
  • Company name
  • Pre-set categories to describe your business
  • Mailing address
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Photo

Now that you are inscribed, take a look around and learn more about the other members.

You can search by profession or industry to identify consultants and vendors who work with similar or even mutual clients.

Pick out names of possible collaborators.

See which members might be potential referral sources.

Look for members in your city (or an area you often visit) to meet for coffee or lunch.

You may even locate someone you know and with whom you’ve lost touch over the years.

Take the opportunity to introduce yourself to some members of the association. When they learn you are a new member, they probably will welcome you and may well be open to a conversation regarding their involvement in the organization to encourage your active participation.

There’s a treasure trove of connections in the directory. Be selective. Do not contact every member; instead, search for those whose business interests most closely align with your own.

This Month’s Tip

A directory listing, like an elevator pitch, offers a bare minimum of information. You have to engage in conversation to flesh out the details. To start the relationship with a fellow member, introduce yourself by email. Focus on YOU, the reader/member, and establish shared interests. Your goal is to have the next conversation. For example:

Your name came to my attention as a member of the Regional Association, which I recently joined.

Your listing caught my eye, as a professional/business owner in the ____ industry, because I often work with ____/clients in my ____ business.

As a new member of the organization, I am excited to get involved and meet other members.

It would be great if we could chat and become better acquainted, so that I might learn more about your business.

I’m also eager to hear how you think I might participate in the association’s activities, perhaps by contributing my ____ skills.

Looking forward to your reply.


This approach works equally well when you are a long-time member of the association. Check your listing to ensure all the details are current. In your note to a fellow member, suggest a conversation to discuss their view of trends in the industry or profession, ask a quick question or propose a future program for the organization.


Take a closer look at the directory of an organization where you are a member. After confirming your listing’s details are correct, consider which fellow members fit the categories of possible collaborator or referral source. You may even plan to meet for lunch locally.

Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll build a direct connection from the directory to a fellow member, who may, serendipitously, become a client. It worked for me.

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Grab a Partner for the Next Event

Woman introduces client at event

Connect and double your meeting fun.

Your networking groups, professional membership organizations and industry associations have resumed in-person meetings after a long hiatus of virtual events.

You’re probably eager to attend events in person and see your colleagues.

Use this tactic to raise the bar for a doubly productive meeting.

Plan ahead and invite a guest to attend the program with you:

  • a new contact
  • a client
  • someone you’ve been meaning to connect with.

Don’t go it alone, especially if you’re out of practice with in-person networking after the many virtual gatherings you’ve attended.

As a member of a networking group, industry organization or professional membership association, you are responsible for spreading the word about the value of belonging to the organization.

Inviting a new contact goes beyond recruiting members. At an industry event, you’ll help the visitor garner insights on the latest developments and trends as presented by the speaker. At a networking meeting, the guest will create new connections among the other members of the group, perhaps learning some networking tips. In either case, a visitor often brings a different and welcome perspective to the group’s usual discussion.

When the visitor is your client or someone you’ve been meaning to cultivate, you’ll put them in the spotlight at the event you attend together. Introduce them to the group’s officers and other attendees who will warmly welcome them; members are eager to meet the newcomer. The guest will appreciate the attention and your status with them will be enhanced when they see you in your element, mingling with the leaders.

Having a partner affords you and your guest the opportunity to tag team; you will introduce each other to the attendees and periodically re-group to check in as the event progresses.

Your partner need not be someone new to the host organization. You may reach out to another long-time member of the group, say you look forward to seeing them in person and confirm they will attend.

Whoever you invite, attending an event together strengthens your relationship.

This Month’s Tip

Hold a pre-meeting meeting. Arrange to meet your guest for a coffee 30-minutes before the meeting. Use this time to re-connect and catch up on their latest news. Hear what their agenda for the meeting might be. Plan to work the room together and maximize the moment.


Let’s identify people in your circles or on your wish list who might appreciate an invitation to be your guest. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll plan ahead to make the next meeting doubly productive for you and your guest.

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NEW E-book: Create and Monitor Your Marketing RBI

Play a winning game with these five ways to grow your business.

You may recall I wrote about the five ways to attract business in June 2017. Your Marketing RBI (Runs Batted In) has these components:

  1. Networking
  2. Speaking
  3. Writing
  4. Participating in the trade association of your target market
  5. Extending your digital presence

I’ve spoken on this aspect of Marketing in presentations to groups of accountants and attorneys, as well as on podcasts.

More recently, I wrote a series of six articles for the PLI Chronicle Insights and Perspectives for the Legal Community, a monthly publication produced by the Practising Law Institute.

Naturally, these ideas have evolved over time.

I have now revised those articles and presentations, assembling them in an e-book of more than 50 pages.

It’s chock-full of detailed instructions, examples and best practices that apply to professionals who are accountants, business owners and consultants, not only attorneys.

Now, this guidance is offered to you and others in a general audience who might benefit from these strategies. The e-book is available for purchase for $9.99 via Venmo.

Here’s the Table of Contents so you’ll see what you’ll learn.

This Month’s Tip

Try ALL FIVE strategies and then focus on the ones where you feel most comfortable. Networking may be your favorite and speaking may give your stomach butterflies. Or vice versa. The e-book gives examples of how you can take some practice swings and become more comfortable with the approaches you don’t ordinarily use.


It’s time you stepped up to the plate and took a swing for the fences. After you place your order and purchase the e-book on Venmo, contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll explore which of the five ways to grow your business will most improve your Marketing RBI. 

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Paul Konigstein

Janet gave an excellent presentation to the Financial Executives Networking Group (FENG) not for profit special interest group on networking. Her approach focused on making connections with the leaders of organizations hosting networking events and was a refreshing change from the usual networking strategies. Janet is a very engaging speaker. I would recommend her to present to any group.

Raise Your Virtual Networking Game

Be active and show you are accessible.

Networking has always been a vital component of your marketing.

With a year’s experience of networking online under your belt, consider these FIVE best practices to strengthen your presence in virtual networking groups and improve your activity.

  1. Customize your virtual background. Use the space of your box to display information about your company and how to contact you. Many templates are available online at Canva.com and other sources.

    You can see the difference a custom background makes in the array below.

    In the top row, I’m in the second box; my contact information is displayed and legible to the attendees (although blurry in this photo). Only a few other people, like the woman in the fifth box, also have a custom background; see how her orange logo stands out.

    In the bottom row, the man in the third box put his company’s logo smack dab in the middle of the screen. Notice that his body completely obscures the logo until he shifts his position.

    Don’t miss this opportunity for promotion. Consider the virtual background to be a frame and position your company name and contact information accordingly.

  2. Be prepared when the large group disperses into breakout rooms. Everyone in the small group is looking at the other participants, wondering who’s in charge of the discussion.

    Step up to the plate and YOU take charge. State your name and your profession. Then say “I’m going to give my elevator pitch and put my contact information in the chat. Next, I will call on each of you in turn to do the same. Here we go.”

    After you and the others have participated in the round of introductions, ask a question that will invite responses from all the members. You can focus on a problem that you are facing in your business, or ask about something that is related to your services. For example, I usually pose a question about how people are promoting their business; that opens the door for me to share an aspect of my Public Relations and Marketing background.

  3. Craft an effective elevator pitch. It should be 30 seconds, which is 75-84 words. Summarize a skill or a recent client success. Mention your target client or referral source. Remind the audience to contact you.

  4. Use the chat to connect with others in the meeting. Send a private message to those you know and reach out to those you want to meet. Save the chat by clicking the three dots in the lower right corner in Zoom.

  5. Commit to attending more networking groups and being an active participant. Invite your clients and referral sources to the groups you attend and ask to be invited to their groups. You will all expand your circles of contacts.

These five tips are designed to help you boost your participation and outreach in virtual networking events. For more ideas, please contact me and I will be glad to deliver a presentation to you and a group, a minimum of FIVE attendees, for a modest fee.

This Month’s Tip

Prepare in advance to share your contact details. You can easily copy and paste your name, email and phone in the Zoom chat, preferably in the middle of the networking session, when everyone has arrived and settled in. For example:

Janet Falk
Public Relations and Marketing Communications

Save this contact information block as a DRAFT email to keep it handy. You’ll never worry that you typed so quickly you dropped a digit from your phone number.


Does your elevator pitch pack a punch? How does your virtual background display? Check in with me for a test drive over Zoom. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s work together to make your virtual networking success a reality.

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What’s Up with Your Elevator Pitch

 Make your introduction more memorable

When a networking group meets, every member takes a turn to introduce themselves with a 30-second to 60-second commercial about their business or service.

Each speaker stands and delivers the proverbial elevator pitch to entice the attendees with: a snappy summary of their profession, a target market and a benefit of working with the individual. Guests do the same.

Do you find it tedious when everyone around the networking circle says a version of name, profession and company?:

Good morning. My name is Irene Jones and I am a professional ice cream stylist at International Food Stylists.

Here’s why you should say goodbye to that repetitious format of name, rank and serial number.

Public speaking coaches say for the first 15 seconds of a keynote speaker’s remarks, the audience is poised in anticipation.

Attendees hungrily await the presenter’s words and their connection with the crowd.

With that in mind, the first part of an elevator pitch should be equally engaging.

Why waste those precious, high-attention seconds by deploying the same old formula?

This is especially true when attendees are subjected to 20 or more pitches volleyed in succession, like cannon fodder.

If you’re ready to make a switch, try my format.

First, I pause briefly, and start with a narrative or question. (The pause puts everyone’s eyes on me; the anecdote is a different opener than most.)

With the attendees’ attention is in high gear, I dazzle them with the benefit of the particular service I promote that day. I specify how I help an individual, business or corporation to SAVE TIME, SAVE MONEY or MAKE MORE MONEY.

Then, I state my name, Janet Falk, and profession, Public Relations and Marketing Communications. (I only add my company name, Falk Communications and Research, if there is at least 45 seconds. It’s not that essential.)

Up next is the call to action, for example: If being in the news will help you grow your business, let’s talk further. (Tell the audience what to do next.)

Finally, I repeat my name, plus my tagline or market focus.

It’s surprising how much you can say in 30 seconds, which is 75-84 words.

This narrative-focused approach has often been selected as Best Elevator Pitch of the Day.

Here’s how you can break the boring mold of My Name is, my profession is and my company is:

    • Many people don’t know a statistic that will startle your audience
    • What’s the opposite of twist something familiar
    • Have you ever heard of an obscure name, place or food

Then, you connect the dots to your business or service, plus the value of working with you (and your team).

Try this approach of narrative and benefit prior to reciting your name and profession.

Practice before you go to a networking event, so the new format will feel more comfortable.

Remember, you can reel off your elevator pitch almost anywhere. Before a session at an industry conference, speak to the person seated nearby. Chat with other attendees at a cocktail reception. You don’t need to be at a networking event to deliver your elevator pitch.

As an example of what the narrative approach sounds like, plus being prepared to speak spontaneously, click on the link below for a video recorded at a workshop for attorneys organized by Lawline, Ethically Improve Your Networking Skills, which I co-presented with Stephanie Rodin.

To set the scene, Rodin has just delivered her elevator pitch and explained its components to the audience. She turns to me and …  here is a two-minute video of my elevator pitch.

This Month’s Tip

Play to your audience. It’s helpful to have several versions of your elevator pitch that you can tailor when you are speaking to one person, a trio of workshop participants or a room of networking group members. Consider also whether the audience is from the same profession as yourself, are members of a target market or represent a random assortment of occupations. Adjust your remarks accordingly.


Ready to give your elevator pitch a lift? Contact me at 212.677.5770, set an appointment here or email me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. We’ll brainstorm together to write an elevator pitch that zooms up to the C-suite.

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Photo Credit: Kayla Berenson

Two Can Network Better Than One

 Inviting a contact, or attending as her guest, yields benefits for you both.

My colleague, attorney Eric Sarver, has an innovative way to show client appreciation. He invites the client to attend a networking event as his guest and pays for the tickets. There, she or he will meet new contacts, enjoy the event and “we get to connect and bond in a different context.”

Let’s explore this idea from two perspectives, starting with yourself as the host.

If the event is organized by a group where you are a member, you probably are eager to introduce your client, perhaps Pamela, to the others. You already know them well and can make meaningful introductions:

Pamela, this is George; you may remember I mentioned he is a digital marketer who advises medical professionals, like yourself. George, Pamela is a client and she has a urology practice.

With this personal introduction, George and other group members will be especially interested in welcoming Pamela and engaging her in conversation.

If the program host is an organization where neither you nor your guest is a member, you may still open the door to productive conversation. Your role is to initiate a friendly chat by introducing yourself and her in tandem. This will help put your guest at ease in a room where you (and she) know very few people.

Of course, you gain in stature in Pamela’s eyes for facilitating the introductions in either setting.

From the perspective of Pamela, the guest, there are even more benefits to having a guide at a networking event.

Some members of your group, noticing a new face among the regulars, will be motivated to strike up a conversation with her. Now she will become the focus of another’s attention.

Seeing a lively conversation underway may attract another attendee to approach you both and join in. Many people find it easier to walk up to a small group than to start talking to a person standing alone.

Plus, at the event where you are both newcomers, Pamela can follow your technique and gain valuable practice introducing herself (and you) to others.

Finally, when you and Pamela separate to work the room on your own, you will both be on the alert to possibly connect those you meet to each other, which increases the number of potential contacts.

Accordingly, consider asking a client if there is an event she or he might like to attend, whether it is your own networking group or one that has caught her or his eye. The opportunity to build new connections with the attendees, while also solidifying your own relationship, is most attractive.

This Month’s Tip

These are among the most common networking groups. Consider letting your clients know about an upcoming program of possible interest, so you may attend together.

  1. Professional membership associations
  2. General business organizations
  3. Interest groups (e.g., women-owned, ethnic)
  4. Community service organizations


Have you thought about expanding your networking activities by inviting a guest or accompanying someone to their group? If you need help getting started, Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770 and we’ll develop a plan. Plus, I’m always ready to go to a networking event. I would be happy to invite you along or attend with you.

If you’d like to strengthen your networking skills, invite me to lead a workshop for general audiences or tailor it to your group. I have co-taught a CLE webinar Ethically Improve Your Networking Skills for attorneys, as well.

You may also read tips in this e-book: Three Lessons to Improve Your Networking Success.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Improve Your Networking: Problem and Solution Questions (3 of 3)

Ask questions that allow respondents to brag.

You have shifted your networking attitude to focus on YOU, the other person, and become a curator of resources.

You’ve executed a pre-event marketing plan to build a welcoming committee among the officers of the host organization. At the networking event, you’ve asked them to tell you more about the organization and themselves.

Now it’s time to become acquainted with other event attendees, by posing get-to-know-you Problem and Solution Questions:

How do you help people (or companies): save time, save money, make more money or get more joy from life?

  • Most businesses offer products and services that save time or money. Or perhaps they build wealth for individuals and companies. Consider that a spa owner or a restaurateur brings joy, enhancing one’s leisure time. Asking this question helps you learn more about the new contact.

What was the highlight of the past year (quarter) for you in helping a client?

  • This gives the speaker an opportunity to brag. Make it clear you want to know what the person (not the team) did for a client, something that would not have occurred without her role.

That sounds hard. How do you do that?

  • Ask this question about any aspect to prompt the contact to provide more specifics and explain the process.

Who are you looking to meet (here)?

  • As a curator of resources, you will likely have a suggestion for an introduction to a potential vendor or client, or even someone else in the room.

How might I be a resource to you?

  • This opens the door for you to follow up with the contact, by sharing a newsletter you wrote, an article you read or an invitation to a meeting.

This Month’s Tip

Posing Problem and Solution Questions will highlight the types of issues that the respondent likes to tackle, the approaches she offers and the clients she targets. Based on the answers, you may determine how this person meshes with your contacts and resources. If you simply want to chat, ask “Are you originally from Name of City?” That straight-forward inquiry may lead to all sorts of talk about what brought the person to this city — or perhaps why they stayed local — and you can find common ground from there.


This may be your first time at an event held by an organization, or perhaps you might be a frequent attendee. Either way, asking problem and solution questions will yield pathways for further exploration and strengthen your connection to the acquaintance you meet. Contact me at 212.677.5770, set an appointment here or email me janet@janetlfalk.com. Let’s consider some groups where you can meet new contacts and build your resources.

This is the third in a series of three newsletters about Networking. The first discussed an attitude of focusing on YOU, the person to whom you might be a resource and who, in turn, might be a resource for your contacts. The second outlined a pre-event marketing strategy to contact the leaders of an industry or membership organization in advance of a networking event. Use these tips in combination to strengthen your networking skills.

Click here to request the e-book Three Lessons to Improve Your Networking Success.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Thanks to Tiffany Ashitey and Tasha Morris of The Benchmark Creative Group. Their invitation to speak at Brooklyn Marketing Week was the impetus to crystallize my approach to networking.

Improve Your Networking: Pre-event Marketing (2 of 3)

Introduce yourself and ask others to introduce you.

Now that you have shifted your networking attitude (It’s not about ME. It IS about YOU.), let’s put this approach into practice. Consider an upcoming networking event held by an industry or professional association where you plan to meet potential referral sources.

Here is a pre-event marketing strategy that will help you will maximize your attendance at the event, keeping the focus on YOU, meaning the movers and shakers of the organization.

After you register for the event, visit the website of the membership organization. Assemble a list of the officers, committee chairs and board members, including their email addresses. If an email is not readily available, you can send a connection request via their LinkedIn profile.

One week before the event, write an introductory email or LinkedIn message to each leader with the subject line: Will you attend the Networking Cocktail on January 12? Describe your background and note your work with a related business, as shown in this example:

Your name came to my attention as an officer of the Local Accountants Organization.

I am a Public Relations professional who specializes in advising accountants.

Recently, I advised Excellent Accountants on various projects in media relations and client newsletters. I wish to learn more about the Local Accountants Organization and how, if I become a member, I might get involved in your activities.

Perhaps we can chat at the Networking Event; I’m excited to meet you and your colleagues.

Your Name
Company website

The leaders of the organization will be thrilled to hear from you. More than half of them will respond with a big welcome. Why? Every business group wants to bring in new members, especially people who offer valuable, specialized experience that would benefit the members and the organization itself. Your email inspires confidence that you are a professional worth welcoming into the fold.

Reply warmly to the notes you receive. Indicate that you will wear a distinctive article of clothing, making it be easy for you both to find each other in a crowded room. Perhaps a woman wears an orange jacket and a man has a green tie. Your new contact is now equipped to seek you out at the event.

One hour before the event, review the names and LinkedIn profiles of the people you contacted and take notes on mutual areas of interest. This annotated list is your game plan.

When you arrive, ask the person at the registration desk where to find one or two of the people on your list. Remember to focus on YOU, not yourself, in conversation. Start by asking about the membership organization itself. Find out why they joined. Learn how they contribute to the group’s success. Only discuss yourself and your professional focus in passing. After you chat and collect their business cards, ask to meet one of the other leaders on your list.

Your new contact will gladly introduce you; this enhances their own stature in the other officer’s eyes. Imagine the group’s president thinking, “That Mary, she’s doing great, bringing in new members!” Review the names on your list and work the room to meet and be introduced to as many of the officers, board members and committee chairs as possible.

Afterwards, send a follow-up email and perhaps customize a LinkedIn connection request. Note how good it was to meet in person after your email correspondence. Say how much you enjoyed learning about the organization. If you decide to become a member, tell the contact they persuaded you to join. Of course, you are excited to see them at future events.

You should also write to anyone you did not meet, because they were chatting with others or did not attend. Let them know you joined the association. Suggest a one-on-one coffee chat, to learn how you might get involved in the group.

Your attitude and focus on YOU — the contacts and the association itself — will demonstrate that you align with the group. You share interests in the benefits of membership and future activities. This pre-event marketing practice will enhance your networking success and help you build a larger base of potential referral sources and, perhaps, even net some clients.

This Month’s Tip

At industry and professional membership associations, the key contacts are:

  • Program Chair: he is always eager for new workshops to keep members advised of trends and best practices, so propose a timely topic;
  • Communications Chair: she needs to fill the newsletter with engaging articles, so offer to write an insightful contribution;
  • Membership Chair: she knows everyone, so ask which members might find you a valuable resource;
  • Chair of any Committee, such as Finance, Marketing or Legal, that aligns with your profession;
  • Of course, President, Past President, President-elect: they have an agenda and you can help them achieve it.


The officers of membership associations are eager to meet prospective members, who offer new ideas for programs and initiatives, plus specialized backgrounds of a related profession. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s build your referral network by identifying some groups where you can get involved.

This is the second in a series of three newsletters about Networking. The first discussed an attitude of focusing on YOU, the person to whom you might be a resource and who, in turn, might be a resource for your contacts. The third will discuss get-to-know-you problem and solution questions that engage networking contacts.

Click here to request the e-book Three Lessons to Improve Your Networking Success.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Thanks to Tiffany Ashitey and Tasha Morris of The Benchmark Creative Group. Their invitation to speak at Brooklyn Marketing Week was the impetus to crystallize my approach to networking.