If you've been networking for a long time, you know it's time to meet people. You need to fill your location to find places and activities where you can meet the right people (that is, your target market or those who are well connected) and need to fill in the actual introduction and acquaintance with them. But many of us are time premium. We often omit network events, such as association meetings and chamber events, because we feel that we do not get a good return (the number of people we've met) with our investment (over time).

Although we know that networking is a process of building long-term mutually beneficial relationships, we sometimes want to shorten this process. Here is an insider trick to meet fewer people in less time, with the same number of events.

Insider's trick, because I used it, deliberately or sometimes many times. As a leader of a membership-based organization, I'm (most times) the event hostess. So I'm in the check-in table, thank you to the people when they enter the event. If 100 people appear at the event, I can usually say at least half the place. 50 people came in within two hours. It is very time consuming to try to maximize exposure and relationships.

But what are you doing if you are not the host or the hostess? Here's a simple idea to use. First of all, you will literally be a host or hostess when you contact the organizer and volunteer work in the sign-up table. Most participants who have a lunch or mixer will be happy to receive extra help and allow them to blame or release them with their most important clients or members. If you do not know the organization or event, take some time to find out more about it to be able to respond intelligently to your questions. You must be able to keep a good part of the people involved in the event.

Really, you probably will not have time to talk to incoming people, but here's the opportunity to take advantage of. Tell them, "I'm helping the director today, so I can not talk to you later. Could you get your card and contact me later?" Or maybe you'd say, "Oh, John Smith, I'm waiting for you to meet, but today I will not have time because I'll help you send an email, thank you."

If you do not feel comfortable, check your hostess and see if you can get information about the participant at any time for help. This may not work. It depends on how well your hostess knows, but information is otherwise available and your organization is protected. You might find the online directory and place the contact information along with the names and faces seen on the event.

This is a simple method (and especially good for less extroverted networking) to get exposure and to meet fewer people in less time.

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