You’ve got to have a plan, man!

As Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Bad man but he always had a great plan! (Hey, that rhymes!)

How do YOU plan for a networking event, cocktail party, holiday function, conference, convention, trade show, product show, chamber mixer, service group or wherever you go to network? What is important for you to know?

Know About the Event
Is it the right type of event? Industry specific? General population? Vetted community? Come one come all? Free? Low Cost? High Cost? At what cost? Noisy? Intimate? Quiet? Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Brunch? Cocktail party? Casual? Fancy? Business Attire? Costume? Make up? Theme?

Know About the People 
Who will be there? Prospects? Competitors? Referral sources? Clients? Their clients? Do you know their industry, profession, market segment, niche, dynamic, demographic, or whatever? If not, should you? Do you remember their names? Who do you need to see again? What do you need to do to fulfill a promise you might have made to someone you will see again?

Know What You’re Going to Say
How will you start your conversations? What relevant stories will you tell? What questions will you ask? How about that elevator speech? What will be your call to action? How do you intend to help others that you meet? What will you do if you simply don’t “click” with someone? What will your follow up strategy look like?

Know Your Purpose
As in on purpose. See what I did there? Why are you attending the event? What are you looking to learn? Again, how are you looking to help? Are you looking for more clients? Referral partners? Recruits? A partnership? Vendor? Employment? If you’re clear on your purpose, you’ll have a better idea about who to meet, where to go, and what to say.

If you don’t know the answers to any of the questions above regarding an upcoming event, do your homework on LinkedIn and Google. Also, feel free to contact the coordinator or leader of any event you plan on attending directly and ask! You’ll get the info you need and be networking with the top person!

Then plan what to wear, what to say, who to meet, and connect with that top person personally!

And don’t get punched in the mouth!

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