You put in a request for a DA4S matchmaking meeting and were lucky enough to score one. You’ve been trying to get a meeting for months, maybe even years and now because you’re a DA4S member you’ve been able to schedule one.  You’re pretty excited and can’t wait to connect with your prospect company but it’s very important that you prepare.

What does it mean to prepare? According to Dee Knopp, Executive Director of DA4S preparation means, “Do your homework, know who you are meeting with, be prompt, have a professional presentation and have your camera on.  Make sure your pitch is to the point. You have 15 minutes to present so make it effective.”

To elaborate on Dee’s sage advice, here are five important preparation steps to take before your virtual matchmaking session.

  1. Research the company you are being matched with. The company website is a great place to start. Read the about page to understand the history, locations and structure of the organization. If you can, try to identify which divisions or locations would be best for you to target for business opportunities. Maybe read the annual report to learn about the company’s major initiatives, goals and culture. With the additional knowledge, you will be more confident and engaging in the meeting.
  2. Research the background of the person you are scheduled to meet with. Look at their LinkedIn page to understand their role in the organization. Read any available articles or posts they may have written. Having some background information about your contact will help you understand their perspective and speak to them in a meaningful way.
  3. Ask yourself what outcome you are seeking. What will you request as next steps after a successful matchmaking session? Maybe you would like to present to a larger group, be invited to an RFP or get a longer follow up meeting with the person you’re meeting with. Knowing your goal in advance will help you keep the conversation on track and make the most of your time.
  4. Prepare your setting. Since the matchmaking sessions are virtual it is important that you choose an appropriate area to hold your virtual meeting. Make sure your lighting and sound are appropriate for the session. Test your camera and microphone to make sure they are functional and compatible with virtual meeting app. Many applications provide the ability to test your system before you logon to the meeting. Arrive early so you have extra time to test your technology. Limit distractions as much as possible. You want the meeting focused on your business objectives not your adorable puppy.
  5. Lastly and most importantly practice your presentation. You have a limited time of 15 minutes. It is very important that you prepare a concise pitch that speaks to your audience.  At the beginning Dee also advised that it’s important to “ask for a contact email at the beginning to capture for a follow up to your match meeting.”  The matchmaking sessions will close automatically and if you aren’t mindful of the time you may lose the opportunity to communicate your business value. Remember, practice, practice, practice.

Matchmaking sessions are an excellent opportunity to meet corporate decision makers who otherwise would be difficult to reach. With the proper preparation and research you can make a positive lasting impression that could lead to exciting new business opportunities.