As a recent transplant to Matter’s Portland, OR office it has been an exciting first year learning a new city, culture and business community. Believe it or not, Portland isn’t the “city where young people retire” as Portlandia has so famously named my new home. In fact, it’s a city filled with a young and vibrant startup scene as well as a flourishing technology community which has resulted in the surrounding region being labeled Silicon Forrest. So, when I was given the opportunity to meet members of this community by attending Portland Lunch 2.0 as part of Portland Startup Week I jumped at the chance.
Networking events are a great way to feel the lifeline of your city’s professional community. It’s a sure fire way to learn about new companies that may not show up in your Google search or local business journal scan as well as an opportunity meet future colleagues or business partners. Unfortunately, some just see these events as an opportunity for free lunch. To avoid that, what should you do to make the most of your next networking event?
- Go With a Plan – Is this your first time attending the series? Perhaps it’s best to feel out the crowd and meet a few new faces. If you’re a seasoned veteran, go with the plan of meeting a certain number of people. Count business cards you’ve received as a way to measure success.
- Build a Team – Having a trusted team member join you for some networking will help boost your company’s presence at the event. It’s also a great way to “tag team” your conversations. Perhaps your colleague is a social media guru while you can jump in and show off your media relations knowledge.
- Know Your Stuff – This should go without saying, but know your company’s business in and out. You’re bound to explain what you do and your company’s services countless times as you network. Don’t be caught off guard.
- Don’t Forget Your Business Cards – You can’t make a list about networking events without mentioning business cards, right? Don’t expect to continue building those valuable connections that you made without exchanging contact information!
Whether you’re looking for new business leads or you’re a transplant looking to learn more about your new home, be sure to find out where your local networking events are held. It will put you on the fast track to becoming a “local” in the community and give you valuable knowledge to take back with you to the office.
Are you in Portland and looking for a way to get involved in the business community? Keep an eye out for upcoming Portland Lunch 2.0 events coordinated by PIE, Silicon Florist and now Matter PDX! Stay tuned to our Twitter & Instagram for upcoming dates and locations.