Networking Socially: Views from Booth 29

Last week, we discussed the old-school version of “social networking” by stressing the importance of maintaining traditional means of communicating and business development. The Webb Mason team followed one of these means last week by participating in the Baltimore Business Journal Expo.

At this event in Hunts Valley, Maryland, our team joined around 400 others – representing either businesses or themselves – for a day of networking and presentations. The Webb Mason firm was one of a select group of exhibitors, alongside several other prominent, locally-based companies.

From our place at Booth 29, we had the opportunity to meet a number of people, but also took the time to observe the event as a whole. As a follow-up to our post last week, here are some of our thoughts:

  • The parameters behind the Expo – from who should attend to the topics of the breakout sessions – were purposely broad, which is typical of a regional event like this because there is an inclusionary aspect. Some find these broad parameters beneficial; others feel it can make the event too “watered down.”
  • This event was well attended, and all of attendees seemed to come with goals in mind, which is important for an event like this. Coming with an agenda (businesses to talk to, distributing résumés, learning industry trends, etc.) prevents wandering aimlessly. Our team came with certain goals in mind, many of which were achieved, however….
  • Not everyone you talk to will have the same goals as you, which is bound to happen. However, determining if goals mesh or not can only be determined by talking.
  • There was a lot of networking, especially by those hoping to find a job. In this economy, this is the type of event that individuals need to attend for no other reason than to practice their “elevator speech” and get their name and résumé in front of more people. We know it can be a frustrating experience.
  • Events like this can also be an internal team bonding experience for businesses. Being out of the office and working with your colleagues on behalf of the company can lead to better inter office communications.
  • Networking is an interesting process because success is difficult to determine, and is definitely not always based on immediate results.

In general, expos like this can be hit-or-miss for businesses. Like most that attended, we attained some of our goals, but not all of them. Our next step is one that we recommend all people should do, which is evaluate pros and cons, and determine the ROI is there for similar events in the future.

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Founded in 1989, WebbMason is one of the fastest-growing print and brand management service companies in the United States, helping marketing departments and their internal and external partners save money and streamline processes through a winning combination of industry expertise, exceptional print supply chain partners and technological innovation.

Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, WebbMason has 20 sales offices throughout the United States.

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