7 Tips to Rock Your Aboriginal Business Match – by Guest Blogger Jacquelyn Cardinal, Naheyawin

There’s something very special about the Aboriginal Business Match.

It has all the fun of giant Jenga and photo booths, all the laughs of a family get-together, and all the  hard-hitting business questions of a great strategic planning meeting.

But how does one truly rock their #ABM?

1. Get your match on before the event.

Seriously. In the weeks leading up to the event, we spent a few hours doing our matching  and we were quickly at the top of the list for engaged ABM-ers. There’s a scoreboard and   everything. This is important not only because we are competitive in nature, but also   because if you do your homework, you’ll be sure to stack your days with interesting,  valuable meetings; dilly-dally, and you might be missing out on some gems!

2. Read the profiles of those you’re meeting with in advance.

We get it, you’re busy. And so are we. You only get a short amount of time with each   person so you want to make sure that you use it wisely. That’s why we read over the   profiles of the people we scheduled to meet, and made sure to have an answer to the  question, “so, do you see any synergies here?” (I know, I was surprised people use that term non-ironically too).

3. Hydrate and eat.

Having so many meetings packed into your time slots, plus the meetings you book during  lunch and coffee breaks means that food and drink sometimes fall to the wayside. Making  sure you take care of yourself means that your brain and body will be in tip top shape for  performing the tasks necessary for a great ABM.

4. Don’t just represent yourself.

It meant a lot to us to be given the opportunity to meet with such great businesses, organizations, and community representatives because we know how valuable these   relationships can be. Not just for us, but for our network as well. We knew that we were   there to keep an eye out for potential connections we could make between those in our   circles that couldn’t be there.

5. Don’t ditch your meeting if it doesn’t look like it will be a match.

All meetings are valuable because all relationships are valuable. Even with lots   of preparation, there will be rare moments when a meeting doesn’t look like it will yield a   business opportunity. This happened to us twice out of 30+ meetings, and the first time,  one party chose to leave as soon as he thought it wouldn’t be an opportunity for him. This   was a bummer for us. The second time it happened, we transitioned into personal life  chatting, and it was a really lovely conversation that was a nice break from business talk.  Not only that, but we learned a ridiculous amount about exotic textiles and that there are  sweaters made from the wool of tiny llamas that cost $150,000. Knowledge is power?

6. Follow up, follow up, follow up!

Relationships thrive through efforts to mindfully nurture them. The connections made   at these kinds of events are seedlings – so make sure the business cards and notes you  gathered during your matching don’t just find a home in a dusty corner of your desk  drawers.

7. Have patience and think long-term.

We’re a small company that mainly does project-based work. We fully understand the need  to make sure that the relationships being built are smart investments. That being said,   we’ve found that our most valuable relationships are the ones that are built with the  long-term in mind and come out of our honest question of, “What’s your vision? How do you  think I might be able to help you get there?”

We hope our tips help you get the most out of your event!

Are there any that we missed? Have any burning questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us   at info@naheyawin.ca .

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