Networking at the Savannah State of the Port Address
- August 30, 2019
Every year the Savannah’s State of the Port Address starts with a networking coffee. This is great networking opportunity to network with over a thousand logistics professionals! You are about to listen to information that effects our entire economic system, share the success of the past year and starting planning for a prosperous next year. Your competitor who can at times be your strongest support system, your current clients, your future clients and even your work force could be in this room sharing this information with you. Even if networking is not your strong suit, this may be the time to push just a bit outside your comfort zone. This event brings in people from all over the world who share a passion for logistics and supply chain management. These are your people!
Here are some steps you can take to make any networking event easier:
Acquire a list of attendees: Georgia Port Authority made this task easy for you, they have many of the attendees listed on the event page. This list allows you to look for who you might like to meet and create a game plan. In an event this size finding specific people will take some maneuvering.
Set goals Obtainable Goals. For most events a standard goal is to make three new contacts. This is not a high quantity, but it’s the quality that counts. For a large event that includes a luncheon (you get two at the table) I recommend at least six. Two people stand in line with you at the coffee station for your first cup (just pour a half forces you to pour another) and two more when you go back.
Prepare your elevator pitch: Your elevator pitch is a 30-45 second speech that explains who you are, what you do and why it matters. You never know how much uninterrupted time you will have with someone, so you want to make it concise.
During the event
- Find your comfort zone:Take an inventor of the room, find the rest rooms, the bar, the food stations any other place that people gather. The next step is to look for anyone you already know. Reconnecting is just as important as making new connections and sometimes leads you to an introduction to someone they know. Just make sure to limit conversations to a few minutes with those you already know.
- Get out of your comfort zone:Now that you have gotten comfortable its time to push yourself out of the comfort zone. Remind yourself of your goal to meet six new people and set out to make that happen. The networking portion of the State of the Port Address includes a coffee station. Standing in line is the perfect opportunity to start a conversation!
- Focus on making connections and obtaining contact information:The first contact with someone should be social and light. This is a great time to introduce yourself, exchange pleasantries and hopefully business cards. Finding common ground is easy at the Port Address, as everyone is there for the same reason.
- Help other people make connections:If you meet someone new and you know more of the crowd then they do take a moment to introduce them. Helping someone else make a connection will only strengthen the connection you just made.
After the event, focus on your follow-up
The hard part is over! Follow up is the easy part, but so many people don’t follow through or do so a bit too aggressively.
- The first few days are crucial: Take a little time to sort your collection of business cards and prioritize who you are reaching out to. Every connection is important, but some rise to the top of the list. Linked in is an exceptional tool for follow up. Send a link request and a message to everyone you meet, but keep in mind this is a tool that might not reach everyone. If you do not receive a response in a timely manner send a regular email as well. This a good time to ask for the next step-a phone call or meeting-but give them time to do their own follow up as well. Be sure to remind them of where you met, they may attend multiple events per week.
- Respond promptly: Take the time to respond to everyone who reaches out to you. Remember how difficult it can be to put yourself out there and take a minute to accept their linked in request or return their email. All connections lead to more.
These principles work at any event but will help you get the most of this year’s Port Address. Savannah hosts multiple events through the year giving you a chance to practice your networking skills. Maritime after Hours is a monthly event on the first Wednesday of the month. October 4th’s event will be held at the Top Deck, starting at 5:30. Savannah Logistics Connection has an event on the last Tuesday of the Month. September 25th’s event is at Molly Macpherson’s in Pooler starting at 5:30. The more networking you do, the easier it becomes. We hope to see you at the next event!