How to Prepare to Network at the Note Symposium
Networking events are a great way to meet new people, learn from interesting speakers or leaders, and get your name out there. The Paper Source Note Symposium has prided itself in being THE Note Business event of the year for learning from and networking with actual practitioners in the note business with no sales pitches allowed. From the individually held performing first position seller financed notes to non-performing junior liens from banks and institutions and everything in between, the experienced note professionals will be there. But that doesn’t make networking with these note professionals easy. There are a number of traps that people can fall into during networking events such as ours. Introducing yourself to new people can be daunting, and knowing what you want to get out of a networking event can be confusing. To get rid of uncertainty (and awkwardness) before you attend the Note Symposium this year, here are some tips that will help you flourish at the Note Symposium every year you attend.
I think a lot of people come with the idea they are just going to sit and learn from the speakers and you will but you need to prepare yourself and Make a Plan for the Symposium. You wouldn’t go into a business meeting without doing your research. So why not apply the same methodology to the Note Symposium as one long networking event? Make a plan of attack for the Symposium before you go. Set yourself some goals so that you know exactly what you want to get out of it. These goals could range from anything like, make sure you speak to “x” amount of people, or introduce yourself to specific people who you know will be there. Being prepared adds a level of accountability for you and ensures that you’ll make the most of the opportunity.
Some individuals tend to be nervous or timid at large events like the Note Symposium and I want to tell you to Leave Your Security Blanket at Home! It’s not often these days that we walk up to a room full of strangers, by ourselves, and strike up a conversation. But at the Symposium you should. We all have the tendency (myself included) to go with a friend or two and either speak to them for the evening or rely on them to make introductions. Instead, use this time as an opportunity to push yourself out of your comfort zone. After all, if you can’t do it with people in the industry how on earth are you going to do it when you are alone trying to talk to note holders directly? Approach people and introduce yourself. If that sounds daunting, just remember that everyone is there to network. When it boils down to it, you are in control of whether your note business succeeds or fails so it’s important to be self-reliant and independent.
There will be times at the Symposium that a speaker or panel of speakers will take questions from the audience. Be one of the people they call on to Ask A Question. As a speaker myself I can tell you that I notice the people that ask intelligent questions during a presentation. Depending on the format of a speaker’s session, they may or may not open the floor up for questions at some point, but if they do you might want to ask an intelligent question relevant to their topic. This is a great opportunity for a little personal Public Relations as well. The Note Symposium room will be filled with veteran, beginning and want to be note professionals dealing in many different aspects of the note industry and they too will be listening to you when you ask a question in front of the entire group. So, if the occasion arises, why not introduce yourself to the room and ask an intelligent, relevant questions of the speaker or presenter. Speakers usually want to engage with people on the topics they discuss.
To continue to keep the Note Symposium the best note industry networking event of the year you need to give feedback. From the beginning of the Note Symposium it has been a way to give back to the Note Industry in a positive way, for attendees to share ideas, to keep the flow of communication open for new and innovative ways of doing business and to create awareness of the Paper Source community as a whole. The Paper Source and those of us who support the paper source always strive to make this years Symposium better than the last. There is ALWAYS room for improvement. From the food to the format, every aspect of the Symposium needs feedback. If something didn’t sit well with you or you think something could be improved, you have the opportunity to fill out a survey Saturday afternoon before the end of the event and turn it in. If you leave early or do not receive a survey to fill out, email the Paper Source to say thank you and add some constructive feedback. These events are delivered with you, the note professional, in mind and your feedback is vital in ensuring the Symposium stays relevant and lives up to your expectations.
Networking at the Note Symposium is a huge opportunity for all attending. Be prepared, act confident and have your business cards at the ready. Hope to see all of you there! Remember success demands action, keep on marketing, it’s going to work! TWITA! (That’s What I’m Talkin’ About!)
Jeff Armstrong of Armstrong Capital has been a note investor and broker specializing in the performing seller financed note industry since 1991. For more updated and current information on how he can help you with your note business, your note investments or to request a quote on a note you currently have visit www.armstrongcapital.com to email him and subscribe to his weekly Note-Able Newsletter.