05-14-2021 · Young Professional Leaders

United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Tocqueville Society and Young Professional Leaders (YPL) are two of the organization’s donor groups that are committed to making a measurable and sustainable impact in Greater Atlanta. These groups host year-round events, like the most acclaimed Mentoring Mixer, to cultivate and grow the spirit of philanthropy, promote community advocacy, mobilize through volunteerism and foster leadership.

These networks are committed to supporting the personal and professional development of our members and guests throughout the experience, and have highlighted the following top tips based on Impacting Millions founder, Selena Soo, to help individuals maximize their time at events to make quality connections:

1. Determine Your Goals

Be clear on your objectives so you can be intentional about how you navigate the experience. Set intentions for your attendance, who you want to meet, and what you would like to achieve.

Remember, your goals should help you achieve something important to you or your professional endeavors. Goals to consider might be:

  • Identify two leads for my upcoming project
  • Confirm lunch with three individuals who I want to connect with after the event
  • Get five new followers on Instagram
  • Send an invitation to connect and a personalized note to everyone who shared business cards
  • Talk to ten new people
2. Research The People You Want To Meet and Reach Out In Advance

It is always important to do your research before an event. Think of it like studying before a test, it will help you prepare for the best outcomes and achieve your goals.

We recommend checking out the Facebook or LinkedIn event page to find the names of speakers or fellow attendees that you might be interested in meeting. If provided, can also review the event themes and agenda to prepare questions. Preparing yourself with this information will help prepare you for conversation and increase the chance that fellow participants will remember you.

Also, you do not have to wait until the event starts to connect. Time is of the essence. Send a personalized message to attendees to let them know you are attending and that you would like to connect with them.

3. Practice Your Pitch and Create Your Follow-up Strategy

Nail down your 30 second ‘Elevator pitch” on who you are and what interests you, and figure out how you want to capture information from the event. Nerves tend to kick in at the most inopportune times, you’d hate to spend time talking about your pet goldfish or looking for your notes page when you can talk about your career goals and how you plan to accomplish them. Trust us, we’ve all made that mistake.

To avoid being disorganized or inconsistent with note taking, you can designate a place to store contact information and organize your notebook pages into sections that highlight information you learn. If you receive any information, we also recommend writing your next steps related to that piece in the header or on the back of the page.

Be prepared to make plans for a future connection point or meeting. Study your calendar and outline key days and times available to meet again. Your willingness to be prepared and think ahead will also make you stand out amongst your fellow attendees.

4. Send a Thank You

Undoubtedly you will make some great connections—it is to be expected at any United Way event! You will want to express your gratitude in a brief thank you message to new connections. In this message you can include a personal sentiment shared during your discussion, a takeaway that will remind you of the event or a question or comment to expand upon during your next touch point.

This touch point should be light and inviting for the contact to respond at their convenience.

Now it is time to organize your calendar and sign up for the next upcoming United Way events. For additional tips to help you make the most of the events you attend, check out The Ultimate Guide To Meeting People At Events.