Why you should become a top class ‘straggler’
What is a straggler? One definition is someone who moves slowly or more slowly than others or strays or falls behind.
Similar words could be a loiterer, a dawdler or even a dallier.
Straggling at business events
I am convinced time and time again that the best time to spot potential business opportunities is at the end of an event. Using breakfast meetings as an example say registration is 8am the talk runs from 8.30 -9.15/9.30.
At that point most people check out but hey what a mistake that could be. Yes sometimes we have made arrangements for the next meeting in which case you need to go. But this can be avoided by better time management. If I know a talk is to be over at 9.30 am or the networking lunch at 2.00.pm I will diary an extra 30 minutes for ‘straggling time’. For me it is rare that extra time doesn’t yield something useful.
Why do we go networking?
I have a long list but to be succinct I go for 2 main reasons
- to meet new and existing contacts with a view to building new or reinforcing relationships
- to learn something new and be reminded of lost ideas
Most business events have the same the same format.
- Before the ‘main attraction
- The main attraction a talk or sit down meal
- After the main attraction
If it is a conference this is multiplied by more than one talk and a number of breaks throughout the day.
For me the main attraction is never the main attraction it is always 1 and 3.
That is unless I am lucky to pick up some useful ideas from a speaker or sit next to someone at the meal who turns out to be a really useful contact for the future.
Get there early
Apart from recommending you loiter at the end, aim to get there early particularly if, like me, you hate walking into a full room. Again more time to have one-to –one chats and it will mean you are likely to be more in control than having to enter and face a big crowd of strangers.
As with everything in life it’s all about timings.