As I am sure you know, Bruce Lynn and I run a chapter meeting here in Connecticut every month. Marty Latman runs two each month in New Jersey.
I am always a little disappointed at the number of people who aren’t properly prepared.
I am not criticizing the quality of 90-second announcements or the improvements that might be needed to the resumes I see. Rather, I am commenting on the number of folks who don’t come with the basic tools to be successful at our very important “meet and greets.”
First and most important, bring enough copies of your resume for EVERYONE attending. In most cases, this means about 15-25 copies. If your chapter get together is larger, bring more. Yes, I know you might have to throw out some copies if you revise your resume, but don’t be such an accountant. If you really want to be thrifty, you can always cut the pages in half and use the back for messages or scratch paper. (Or, you can pass out earlier versions at the next meeting on a FIFO basis. The basics will still be there.) Your goal is to wallpaper the world.
Business cards can’t hurt. They don’t have to say a lot, just your basic contact information, but they also facilitate your being remembered by others at the meeting. Don’t be afraid to spend a little money on them.
Name badges are VERY important. Be sure to register for our meetings in advance so your chapter chair can print a badge for you, or print your own. (The form is on our website.) Be smart. This rule applies to meetings other than The FENG as well. Use the name by which you want to be called. I hate being tricked. If your given name is Charles but you prefer Charlie, use Charlie. If you name is Robert but you go by Rob, use Rob on your name badge. Your given name is only for legal documents.
Tents or place cards should also be printed by your computer for readability. I know this is another 3-4 minute investment on your part, but work with me here, it is well worth it.
Moving right along to the “video tape” you will now become memorable. If I met you at the mall 6 weeks from now I should be able to form a mental picture of your name from it having been imprinted so clearly on my brain.
Hand lettered badges and tents are just not as effective.
Dress for the meeting like you want to impress someone, because you do. You only get one chance to make a good first impression. You are asking me to make introductions for you to folks with whom I have a close personal relationship. How do I know if you even have “grown up clothes?”
Life is but a stage and all of us actors. Be sure to play your role of the consummate professional every chance you get.