Today’s column talks about the potential overload for events in London and gives some advice on how to choose (copied below).
I’m curious, which events will you attend? How do you choose? Do you have specific criteria you use to target your efforts?
GETTING CONNECTED: Professionals run the risk of overwhelming their schedules and their wallets
With so many events available, be choosy
Allison Graham, Special to QMI Agency
The get back-to-school and back-to-business feelings that happen after Labour Day also mean there’s a sudden influx of event invitations.
The “networking circuit” goes from summer lull to high action. With so many events happening, it’s difficult for organizers to rise above the noise and get momentum on ticket sales. Professionals run the risk of overwhelming their schedules and their wallets.
The first post-summer lull event I attended was a social gathering at the new restaurant Blu Duby on Dundas St. Among the conversation topics was the incredible number of events happening in the next five weeks.
A short list includes the CEDASS fundraiser with guest Peter MacKay on Sept. 15; the Little Black Dress Event for Wellspring on Sept. 21; Braz for the Cause Fling ’Em for Breast Cancer on Oct. 19th; and the Sue in the City Live from the Runway Event in support of Make-A-Wish Southwestern Ontario on Oct. 11 that I’m excited to emcee! There is also the new 100 Women Initiative on Oct. 1 that seems to have a lot of momentum given its a few weeks away and they are already well past their goal with registrations at 170 and counting.
To attend these events means five evenings out of your life and approximately $300, which is a significant and potentially worthwhile investment of time and money.
If you’re looking to expand your network and make a contribution to our community, then these would be options, but how do you choose? Add the regular business networking association activities and you could wonder when you have time for work.
There are four elements to consider when filling your networking schedule:
- your purpose for networking
- the people you want to meet
- what you like to do
- your resources.
Ensuring an event meets three out of four requirements means you’ll get the most value out of event-going and it will get you closer to your goal and keep you from overloading your to-do list.
Purpose: Are you trying to increase sales, contribute to the community or just get broadly connected? Understanding this will help you measure your results after events and better judge which ones are more likely to get you to your goal.
People: Who is your target market for sales? Are they involved with specific events making it easy to interact with them socially? Are there people who you truly enjoy hanging out with so when you go to an event then it feels like social time?
Love fashion and hanging with the gals? Then go to “Live from the Runway.” Are you passionate about making a difference in Southern Sudan? Then go to the CEDASS event. Can’t stand large crowds? Then don’t go to any of them and find alternate ways to network or contribute. You won’t be able to make genuine connections if you’re miserable, and life is too short to be miserable.
Resources: It’s easy to blow the budget with all that is happening. Instead of being reactive to invitations, be proactive. Make a decision about how much time you’ll devote to networking and take special note of times that are off-limits for networking and reserved for family time. It’s also important to set a budget — not just for the tickets, but remember most of the money raised for charity is done so through the auction and other add-ons.
If events don’t fit with the four focus elements above or they don’t seem like they’ll be an amazingly good time for you, then don’t be afraid to say no.