Networking with the Stars - How to Connect with "Power" Speakers

Posted by: Marie Warner, Founder, CEO - Boston Women Connect on Friday, December 5, 2014 at 8:30:00 am

Networking with the Stars

How to Connect with "Power" Speakers 

You are at a busy conference, and the speaker is a highly successful woman entrepreneur.  You want to professionally connect with this person to help advance your business, but know that the crowd clamoring for her attention will be ten-deep.  How do you make a favorable impression and set yourself apart from the crowd? 

Number One Rule – IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!  Before the conference, research your “target” connection, looking for common interests, charities or causes.  Research the topic of her conference presentation to find her viewpoint in articles or interviews.  Alternatively, find a common interest or issue – a topic that will resonate with her.  You will use this to information to “grab her attention” in your introduction and in doing so, set yourself apart from others she will meet.

Be an early Fan.   I’ve seen the following scenario happen dozens of times.  After a powerful speaker (like your ‘target connection’) has delivered an engaging and powerful address, she leaves the podium and the audience immediately surrounds her.  Yet this same speaker may slip into the room before her talk, and be sipping coffee ALONE!  Since you have done your research, you are able to spot her immediately.  You walk up to the woman, introduce yourself, and lead off with a brief, relevant and sincere comment about your mutual interests.  An ideal topic is the one she is about to address in her talk.   

Here’s an example: “I am really looking forward to hearing your comments on hiring millennials. I read your recent blog about motivation of the younger work force, and your advice was really on target for me.”  

The speaker will likely respond warmly.  Since you have targeted HER key topic, she will now be more attuned to YOU.  You then introduce yourself – giving your name and your business, making your introduction topical and relevant to her. 

“I am Marie Warner, President of Warner Professional Sales, and I work with startups to help them hire, train and motivate a younger salesforce.” Then await a response to allow the speaker to set the tone.  If she begins to engage, be prepared with some brief, relevant details about your business, and suggest a connection after the conference. 

It’s critical to respect that your “target” is about to speak before an audience.  She may be centering herself before taking the podium, or she may be open to a relaxing into a conversation.   Be concise, relevant and sensitive.   Conclude your conversation by offering your card and repeating that you are looking forward to hearing her presentation. 

After the conference and her speech, it’s time to follow through with your connection request. Your follow-up contact should lead with a “memory-jogger”, referring to a comment from your conversation.  The make your connection request - a meeting, an introduction or simply to continue your conversation.  Conclude by again expressing mutual interests, goals and relevance.  

 

Don’t be discouraged if your initial attempts are not fruitful. There will be future opportunities to make an impression and a connection.  More on that in a future Blog!  

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