You’ve got season seats. Now what?

September 8, 2018
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Our 2018-2019 event season is kicking-off at our first Membership Luncheon of the year on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at The Fort Garry Hotel, where Jan Gehl will share his leadership secrets with hundreds of businesses.

You’ve got your season seats, and YOU’RE READY TO NETWORK.

Here are nine tips to maximize your time (and leads) at our luncheons:

1. Find out who you’re sitting with
Did you know you can email The Chamber and find out who you’re sitting with? Well, you can! Don’t be afraid to call us a few days before the luncheon to ask. We love when our members are thinking ahead to maximize their time at our events. If you’re way ahead, you can even request to sit with a specific sector or company. We can’t make any promises – but we always try to accommodate.

2. Do your research
Once you know who you’ll be having lunch with, do your research and find out what you can about their business. Visit their website and check out their social media channels. You can learn a lot about a company based on their interactions online – such as what they do and how your business can help them.

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Chamber Tip:
Email The Chamber staff and ask who you’re sitting with before the luncheon.

3. Have specific goals
Our events bring in anywhere from 400-1500 attendees and it can be hard to navigate through all the action. You definitely won’t be able to talk to everyone, but if you come prepared with specific goals and perhaps individuals you want to connect with – you’ll be successful.
 
For example, say you do sales for your organization – you can set the goal to schedule meetings with three new leads. Or, if you do fundraising – you can set the goal to spark conversation with three of the organizations that donated to your last campaign (donor relation at its finest!).
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4. Update your LinkedIn Profile
If you’ve attended our events in the past, you’ll notice after each event you’ll receive at least a few LinkedIn invites from your fellow tablemates or someone you had exchanged business cards with during the networking session. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date with your current position and contact information. Bonus points if you update your feed regularly with useful content that will add value to your followers (e.g. saving programs your business has to offer to other Chamber members).

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5. Practice your elevator pitch
You know your business inside and out, but if you had 30 seconds to explain what your business does and why you’re so unique – what do you say? That’s your elevator pitch. There’s hundreds of other businesses there that he/she can have a conversation with – so you need to be ready to quickly share your story and capture their interest. But don’t try to explain too much – we’ll explain why later.
6. Dress to impress
People often ask our team what to wear at our events. Truth is, we don’t expect you to come in a suit, in fact it’s not necessary (for example, company t-shirts are also a guest favourite!). An easy rule is to treat the luncheon like a business meeting. Whether you’re coming straight from the office or from home – dress how you want your business represented.

7. Be interested
You’re finally at our event – now it’s time to network and make some genuine business connections. You’ve practiced your elevator pitch which is great, but the key to great networking is asking questions. Find out about their business and what initiatives they have going on. Be genuinely interested in their business. Maybe there’s an issue their business is facing that your business can help resolve.

8. Exchange business cards
Again, our membership luncheons bring in hundreds of businesses. Yes, you may be hitting it off and having a wonderful conversation, but try not to focus on one individual. He or she is likely wanting to make her rounds too. In order to respect both your times, be sure to wrap up conversations by exchanging business cards or scheduling a time to grab coffee another time.

Pro-tip: Don’t be afraid to write notes from your conversation on their business cards. For example, if you met with Jill from Company X and they’re asking for a quote for windows for their new office – write down “quote – new downtown office.”

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Chamber Tip:
Write notes from your conversation on their business cards.
9. Follow-up ASAP
When you get back to your office that day, be sure to take those business cards out of your purse, or wallets or back pockets. Pin them to your cork board or keep them by your phone as a reminder to send them a follow-up email (you’ll notice how helpful those scribbles on their business cards really make a difference!).

It doesn’t even hurt to follow-up right when you get back to your desk – it shows you’re on top of your business and are genuinely interested in theirs.

If you haven’t purchased your season seats yet, no problem! They’re still available to purchase online here until Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 11:59 P.M.