Last year I attended my first Biz Mentoring Monday event and I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised. I know firsthand what it’s like to get excited about an event that promises “networking and mentoring” only to leave disappointed. Let me assure you: this wasn’t my experience while attending Biz Mentoring Monday! The first thing I noticed was the energy in the room and the number of women who prioritized their career development. I felt encouraged as I recognized the opportunity to not only meet mentors but to also meet the dynamic women in the room who desired mentorship just as I did. Between that initial feeling and observing how well organized the event was, I knew I’d attend for many years to come.
Whether you’re someone who is attending for the first time or you’re someone who attends annually, I recommend leveraging the following before, during and after your Biz Mentoring Monday experience.
Before the event:
• Define success: prior to attending the event, determine what a successful outcome looks like for you. Whether it’s meeting 5 specific mentors, securing an informational interview with a company you’d like to work for or sharing your business card with 3 attendees, identify your specific outcomes that equate to success.
• Think strategically: review the list of mentors beforehand. Identify your top 20 mentors as well as 3 questions you’ll pose when you meet them. In addition, a component of your strategy for this event should also include appearance. You’ll spend most of your time standing so don’t forsake comfortable, professional shoes.
During the event:
• Map it out: take a moment to locate where your mentor is seated in the room so you can make the most of your time once the mentoring portion begins.
• Meet new friends: during the event, you could encounter lines while waiting to speak with your mentors. Make the most of this opportunity to introduce yourself to the person in front of you and behind you with a goal of expanding your network. Should you miss the opportunity to speak with your mentor due to time constraints, introduce yourself, request a business card and ask for permission to follow up via email at the end of the event.
After the event:
• Follow up: whether it’s with a mentor or an event attendee, always follow up. Following up could lead to coffee, a meeting or simply connecting on LinkedIn which could lead to future opportunities. Biz Mentoring events are conducive for making connections but authentic relationships are built over time. Your commitment to following up will serve as the foundation upon which the new relationship is built.
Ericka Spradley is the Chief PowHer Officer/Founder of Confident Career Woman which is the premier consulting firm for corporations and the mid-career professional woman who wants to advance, better manage her career, and go further faster. Ericka is an advocate who partners with clients to help women ditch perfection, play bigger and make PowHer Moves by: identifying their next role, creating a career strategy, offering ongoing career guidance, and coaching clients to master interviews. For additional information, visit: ErickaSpradley.com