Posted on Jan 16, 2012

Use LinkedIn to make better impressions at Networking eventsI often hear this story from new my Coaching clients: “I go to networking event after networking event, but I never generate any business or career opportunities from them.”  There are many causes for this, but one of the most common is that they don’t recognize people they have met before and therefore don’t build the meaningful business relationships needed to generate business or job offers.

Luckily there’s a great solution for this problem that you already have at your fingertips. And I’ll get to it in a moment. But first, here’s the scenario:

You’re at a Business Networking event and you vaguely recognize the person who is staring at you. You can’t remember when or where, but you know that you’ve met them before.

They wave at you, and you give them a delayed, frantic wave back and  a manic, overenthusiastic smile.  As you greet them you look like a spastic Dick Van Dyke impersonator instead of the confident and competent professional that you are.

And then it gets worse.  As they walk toward you, you frantically rack your brain:

What did we talk about? 

Was I was supposed to do something for this person?

Are they a potential business partner or client?

What if I have to introduce them to someone else??

 So instead of working on this fledgling and potentially powerful business relationship, you physically back away from them and excuse yourself to go to the restroom.  They stand there wondering where the charming, potential service provider they met last month disappeared to.  And you’ve missed an important business opportunity.

Here’s the happy news: LinkedIn can help you put the name with the face before you get to a Networking event and make the time you spend driving to and attending networking events truly support business relationship building.

Here’s how:

1. Prior to the meeting, go to the LinkedIn Group that is associated with the Networking Group and review the Profiles and Profile Pictures of the potential attendees.

NOTE:  If there is no Group, you can do an Advanced People search to find people who have listed the Group on their Profiles, or print out a list from your database of people you have met at this networking Group and look them up individually on LinkedIn.

2. Associate the names with the faces.

3. Review where they work, where they went to school, and what their interests are.

4. And here’s the “A” student approach: create questions to ask them that will build rapport with the person.

Once you get to the Networking event, you’ll be much more comfortable and you’ll be ready to build meaningful relationships with business professionals who will be happy to hire you, refer business to you, or give you job leads.

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