To me, conferences are mostly dog and pony shows. There is a lot of preening over which company has the biggest set up, most unique, the prettiest booth babes, most fun giveaways, etc. However, if you look past all the hoopla, you’ll find conferences serve a greater purpose. They offer valuable face-time with the people you really want to connect with – existing and potential customers, business partners, the media, etc.
It’s that time of year again. Your desk and inbox are flooded with holiday cards. I know there are folks who have very strong feelings about whether or not print or digital is the best medium to send thanks and best wishes at holiday time. Personally, I feel like both can be done well. The problem is few ARE actually done well. The majority of cards I see—be they paper or pixil—are utterly generic and impersonal. And what does that say about how you view your relationship with the recipient?
A friend of mine recently launched a new business and invited me to the grand opening. Knowing that I probably wouldn’t know anyone there, I decided to take along my 5 year old daughter, Emma. I’ve learned that next to a puppy, nothing is better than a small child to get conversations with strangers going. Even though the room was filled with adults, Emma confidently walked the room and started chatting up folks. I stood back and took notes as she showed me some of the basics of networking.
In a competitive economic climate, professional service firms need to capitalize on any edge they can and are finding rich resources when leveraging their alumni network.
Alumni programs have become a crucial way for professional service firms to develop new business, strengthen their brands and recruit the best and brightest. Alumni can become brand ambassadors for a firm, referral sources for new business and references for new hires or “boomerangs” that return to a firm.
Here's a checklist to help you start building your own successful alumni program: