By Juliana Colangelo, West Coast Director, Colangelo & Partners
From annual events like Wine Spectator’s Top 100 and Whiskey Fest to weekly trade tasting groups and regional seminars, there is no shortage of industry networking events in New York City and San Francisco. These events are an important part of any publicist’s job in the wine and spirits industry: they offer an opportunity to network with media, scout potential new business and interface with clients. But when you add in travel time, these affairs can quickly cut into a busy work week. How can we choose the best events to attend and also make the most of these networking opportunities? We put together 5 quick tips to help you stay on track, besides always bringing your business cards…
- Choose a Goal: Before RSVP’ing “YES” to every invite, take some time to research the event opportunity. Will there be media attending? Potential new clients? Take some time to think about the connections the event will offer, and define a specific goal for each event you attend whether that might be meeting a writer you’d like to connect with or connecting with a new business lead.
- Do Your Research: One way to think about meeting a writer in-person for the first time is to consider how you would pitch them via email: learn what they write about and come up with something relevant to say. Before attending an event, research the relevant writers attending and jot down some notes on the ones you would like to meet. For example, you could compliment them on a recent article or project. If you don’t have the time to do this much preparation, go in to the event prepared with some generic conversation starters such as “What a beautiful venue. Have you been here before?
- Know the host: Introduce yourself to the host and thank them for the invite early in the event – they might be able to introduce you to other people attending. Hosts like guests who introduce themselves because it’s gracious. Leave them a business card if you can.
- Follow-up: If you are interested in forming a connection with someone you met at an event, follow-up within 1-2 days. Chances are that you are more likely to be remembered the closer you follow-up to the date of the event.
- KNOW your business: Learn your own elevator pitch and understand the company you work for: know what you do and who your clients are. Communications is not the easiest industry to explain, so come-up with a few lines about your work that can turn into an easy conversation starter.
Networking is inherently a personal style, but these 5 tips should provide you with some practical and useful tools for mastering the art of the event.