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Networking Etiquette: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Alliance Northwest, the largest business-to-government networking event of the year is coming March 10. Springtime also kicks off government small business outreach season.   As a result, you’ll notice more networking events where you have a chance to meet government representatives and prime contractors to learn how they buy what you sell.  The PTAC calendar is filled with these types of events.   Regardless of whether the opportunity is virtual or live you need to be ready with an effective verbal introduction and beautiful 1-page capabilities statement.   As advisors on how to succeed in government contracting, your local PTAC advisors attend all these events and get to see good, bad, and downright ugly approaches to these events.  Here are our top tips that are best followed up with a 1:1 meeting with a PTAC expert who can refine a specific strategy for your business goals.  

The Good

Good self-introductions and Capability Statements are brief, professional, and are targeted to your audience.  Doing a bit of research on who you might be meeting will go a long way to establishing credibility and making the most of the event. For a virtual event, it’s good to have a professional background set up before turning on your camera.

The Bad

Leading with anything other than what you do best is a bad idea.  For example, if you are a Woman Owned and Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business who is in a Hubzone and who is great at IT Staffing, that’s great!  Lead with the fact that you’re really good at IT Staffing and let the other information come out later.  Share first information that will build your credibility as a low risk contractor/supplier to their agency.  For virtual events, learn how to navigate the platform ahead of time so you can focus on being professional and communicating what you do well during your meetings.

The Ugly

Government contracting is hard. Sometimes you don’t win.  Attacking your potential customers with your gripes about how they conduct their procurements will likely not make you look good.  So, when you’re at these events, remember you’re representing your firm so take a deep breath and set any anger or frustrations aside for a bit. 

Need your capability statement review or support on your market research? Schedule a 1:1 meeting with your local PTAC Advisor or attend a Preparing for Alliance event (March 3 or March 8).  The Alliance planning committee has also prepared short videos on Preparing for Match Making at Alliance linked here and Top 3 Marketing Tools for Alliance Northwest linked here.

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