Perhaps you are a serial networker. You attend every event you can and you meet a lot of people.  And of course you meet other serial networkers.  But have you ever stopped to examine the different types of people and which events they frequent?  This can be a powerful aid in finding the right prospects for your products or services.  Knowing who is there will assist you in determining where your efforts will be best spent.


Networking events are held at all hours of the day.  In larger cities you can even find networking events twenty-four hours a day.  However most networking events fall into one of three time frames; breakfast, lunch and after-hours.  While serial networkers will attend all three, the remainder of the crowd will be determined by the time of day the event is held.


Most every early morning networking event will be held before 9:00 a.m.   You can expect breakfast of some sort, from bagels and pastries to a full plated meal and you can expect to meet a select group of people.  Since these events happen before the workday starts, breakfast meetings are often the choice of C-level executives and business owners.  Whether a solo-practitioner or a busy corporate executive, breakfast is often the only discretionary time these folks have to participate. 


Professional people and C-level executives from all fields will choose breakfast networking meetings.  Not only are they more available in the morning, but they also know they can control to a large degree the types and number of interactions they will experience.  The busiest and hardest to reach people will often arrive just before the program starts and leave promptly upon conclusion.  If you are going to connect with them you will need to plan carefully and be realistic in your expectations.  Just because you met Jane Mega Company at the breakfast doesn’t mean you have the right to call and email her. 


First determine exactly whom you wish to meet.  When the opportunity arises, introduce yourself and ask permission to contact them at a later date (you may even be able to set an appointment right then and there).  Remember that most people who are busy are also highly organized.  When they come to networking events they are bombarded by sales people.  When you handle the interaction as an opportunity to connect and discuss business later you will stand out from the crowd.  Of course you can ask a few questions about them and their business, but keep it brief and plan for a meeting in the future. 


One outstanding way to ensure you meet everyone is to volunteer to be a greeter at the event.  Even if you can’t serve in a formal role, you can stand near the entrance and exit and welcome people with a warm handshake and smiling face.  But consistency is the key.  Everyone must be treated as if they are the most important person in the room, after all they are to someone and they just might be to you.  Additionally, being a greeter once in a while won’t work.  Be consistent in greeting people at events and soon everyone will know you.

Breakfast meetings present an outstanding opportunity to meet people that rarely attend events at other times during the day.  Including breakfast meetings as a part of your networking plan will maximize your effectiveness and increase the likelihood that you will meet the right people.