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.
- Professional membership associations
- General business organizations
- Interest groups (e.g., women-owned, ethnic)
- 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 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.
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