Nice to Meet You: Top Tips for Making a Good Impression at Events

Megan Ritter, Vice President of Communications

It’s gala season! Spring and early summer are prime time for running into foundation board members and program officers. At A.C. Fitzgerald & Associates, we encourage our clients to build relationships with these individuals – but that can be intimidating. Below, we share a few dos and don’ts for leaving a good impression.

 

  1. Do prepare ahead of time. Familiarizing yourself with the registration list helps, but setting yourself up for interesting conversation helps more. Check out what the sponsoring organizations are working on right now. Keep up with trends in your field. Read a newspaper!
  2. Don’t make your sales pitch on the spot. You’re not there to close a grant, only to make a connection and set yourself up for a follow-up contact. 
  3. Do have an elevator speech prepared. Introduce your organization, your role, and yourself in a few sentences. You don’t need to cram every single thing your organization does into this – keep it brief and personal.
  4. Don’t monopolize their time. The person you’re talking to is likely to have old friends or business contacts in the room with whom they’d like to speak. Know when to wrap up your conversation.
  5. Do listen to what someone has to say. Thoughtful engagement builds strong relationships. Attempting to dominate the conversation does not.
  6. Don’t approach people at an awkward time. Remember basic etiquette: most people hate to be approached when they’re engrossed in another conversation or in a hurry to get somewhere.
  7. Do have a plan to follow up. Touch base within a day or two, and include a reference to your conversation. If you can, include something that might be helpful to the individual: for example, a link to an article you mentioned.

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