6 networking tips for the BCBusiness Top 100 event

Going to An Afternoon with David Foster? Here's how to keep your connecting top of mind

If you are going to the BCBusiness Top 100 luncheon featuring special guest speaker David Foster on June 29, here’s how to keep networking top of mind throughout this marquee event. The Top 100 is a silver-platter event because the organizers have done all the work to bring Metro Vancouver’s business and community leaders and innovators together in one place. You just have to show up and start connecting!

1. It seems obvious, but is it?

We were about six months into speaking to audiences after the launch of Work the Pond! when we realized we were forgetting to tell people the most obvious thing about networking: “You can talk to people you don’t know.” Go to An Afternoon with David Foster with a goal of meeting at least seven new people.

2. Break bread with strangers

When you enter the luncheon area, after getting your food, walk over to a stand-up table and join a group. While it’s tempting to choose the empty table, don’t. You have no idea who you might meet. Conversation should be easy; who doesn’t have a favourite David Foster song or singer?

3. Use these magic words

After the stand-up networking lunch, you’ll go to the ballroom for the interview with David Foster. As you are walking into the aisle and are getting seated, turn and smile at the people behind you. Say hi, and if there’s a chance, engage in conversation. Obviously introduce yourself to the people beside you, and when you see someone tentatively entering your row, say, “Please join us.” It’s a small social grace but a good one.

4. Come prepared

We’ve all been to networking events where people don’t bring their business cards. Here’s a gentle reminder: Bring business cards and give one out as part of your introduction. If someone doesn’t provide you a card in return, simply ask. They are usually happy to give you one. Before you leave the office, take a big stack of business cards and put them in your pocket. That way you won’t have to do an archaeological dig to find yours in your wallet or purse.

5. Give yourself 20 minutes

If you have promised something to people you have just met at the event, once you are back at your office take the time to follow up. If you leave it too long here’s what happens—these well-meaning follow-ups get lost in the wave of work that hits your desk.

6. Your two best takeaways

After you leave the event do a post-event assessment by asking these two questions:

• Who were the three most interesting people I met? Are any of them people I might want to reconnect with this summer? Read 7 ways to network in the summertime (may require sunscreen) for some easy ways to do this.

• What were the three most interesting things I learned and how can I share with others at my office?

Gayle Hallgren-Rezac, Judy Thomson and Darcy Rezac, principals of Shepa Learning Company, are business networking speakers and authors of Work the Pond! Use the Power of Positive Networking to Leap Forward in Work and Life (Penguin/Prentice Hall). They offer a free weekly networking tip, always under 200 words.