Another key metric for forging and maintaining good professional partnerships is to look in your own community. In other words, do not ignore your local knowledge. There is no substitute for local knowledge and building on your existing contacts. You are a member of your local community and as such a member of your local business community.
Some ways of establishing contact in local communities can be seen as old hat but they do work. You may already be a member but how well do you leverage your membership of:
- Business roundtables;
- Networking breakfast clubs;
- Golf clubs;
- Sports clubs;
- Religious groups;
- Charitable organisations;
- and parent-teacher associations?
You should also consider any local seminars or events with topics that are likely to be of joint interest. You could even run your own and here are some hints and tips.
Seminar pitfalls to avoid
Anticipating potential problems or learning from past mistakes increases your odds of having a successful seminar.
Here are some potential issues I am sure we have all encountered either as organisers or attendees.
• Low attendance or in some cases no one turns up
This is usually down to poor planning. Part of your checklist has to be confirmation that delegates will attend. You can do this in a variety of ways, but please ensure that you do so.
• Lack of audience participation and bored delegates
The message is everything - and the way it is conveyed is even more important. Ensure you have a message that is relevant for your audience and encourage participation through a question and answer session. It is wise to have a couple of planted questions to get the session moving and heat up the debate.
• You miss out on delegate contact information
This can be solved in three ways. Firstly, have a simple sign up method for anyone who shows an interest in your seminar. Secondly, ensure you have a well organised registration process on the day. Finally, your feedback sheet should collect all the data you will need for follow up in a variety of methods including social media.
• You lose prospects through delaying follow up
Tell everyone who attends what the follow up process will be and carry it out in a timely and efficient manner.
• Technology gremlins
Check your laptop and projector at least 45 minutes before you start. Have a backup laptop and ensure the power is switched on and all cables are taped down. This may not seem very important but it is a health and safety requirement - you do not want potential contacts tripping over wires. Also, it is useful to have a copy of your presentations on a flash drive as last resort.