Plan, Practice and Prepare

By Amanda Durow
MFBF YF&R Committee Member

After harvest season inevitably comes “meeting season.” These winter months are filled with farm shows, outlook meetings and agriculture conferences. Although the events are full of interesting sessions and great speakers, the most value we receive out of them is interacting with other attendees. During these informal conversations, we learn the most. But to get the most out of these conversations, and in order to build your network, you have to plan, practice and prepare.

First, you need to make a plan on the type of connections you are seeking. Do you need to find an expert resource? Do you want to expand your peer network? Are you looking to build a client base? All of these are viable networking strategies, and you may have multiple goals.

Once you have a plan on the type of networking you will pursue, you must practice your introduction. Your elevator speech must give a meaningful connection to lead into a deeper conversation. You also need to practice focusing your conversation on the other person to leave a memorable impression.

Lastly, you need to prepare how you will follow-up. In order to get the most of meeting new people you need to stay connected, and this starts with good follow-up whether call, email or text.

One of the reasons we are so involved with Farm Bureau is to expand our network, as we enjoy learning from other young farmers and ag professionals. We look forward to connecting with you at Leadership Conference