Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Creating Follow-up Opportunities

If you have been asked to lead a discussion at an executive roundtable here is an idea for creating an engaging experience for the attendees and solid opportunities for extending new relationships after the meeting is over.
  1. Determine the three to five key points of discussion. For each think of one visceral word that captures the essence of what it is like to deal with those key points. For instance, the word, "fear", could be used to define what it is like to have to manage corporate disclosure requirements. The word, "love", might be used to describe employee incentive programs...
  2. Print each word separately on an index card or sheet of paper and hand these out at the beginning of the roundtable discussion (this is your handout). With only the printed words on each card or sheet (words like 'fear' and 'love') your audience is already intrigued. And the cards/sheets will serve as a place to take notes.
  3. During the discussion be sure to reference research, articles, or papers that support the points of discussion and offer to send them to attendees after the meeting.
  4. After the meeting send the supporting information.
  5. About a week later (executives are busy and should not be expected to read anything you send right away) follow up with an email or a call (depending on your level of interest in the executive as a prospect) to ask if they've had a chance to read the information and inquire about any additional questions they might have. If the conversation goes well invite them to breakfast or lunch to discuss further.
  6. As an additional idea for getting new face-to-face time you can also ask to learn from their experience. Schedule a meal to hear about how they are dealing with the issues; What has worked and what has not.
To often we look at these presenting opportunities as a one-shot deal hoping in one brief moment we will impress someone enough that they will call us. Not exactly a recipe for success. With the method above you can create at least three touch points while starting off on an interesting and intriguing foot.

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