I was honored to be asked to speak this week by the Detroit Regional Chamber at a pre-Mackinac Conference event, attended largely by individuals contemplating attending for the first time, to discuss “best practices” for making the most of time spent on the island. The panel also included Tricia Keith of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan and was moderated by Sandy Baruah, the Chamber’s president and CEO.
The best advice given centered around one key component: Having a plan. Here are a few specifics:
*Paid registrants are allowed a link to the attendee list. It is always prudent to look the list over to identify those you know and those you want to get to know;
*If possible and appropriate, schedule, in advance, brief meetings to be held once you are on the island. Cold-calling off a list, though, is never advisable. Leverage existing relationships to help bridge those gaps;
*Identify which forums key targets are speaking at and/or anticipate which they may be attending. Then, get up early and get there. If, during the course of a particular session, you have comments germane to the discussion, by all means stand up and identify yourself and make your presence known;
*When it comes to business cards, think quality over quantity. Again, leverage relationships to secure introductions (and return the favor).
In the end, while everyone should have an action strategy in advance of heading up north in June, be flexible, adaptable – and relax. A lot of what occurs on Mackinac happens “organically”. Things do get done on the island; and what happens on Mackinac doesn’t stay on Mackinac – relationships built can follow you home and beyond. Truly, there’s nothing quite like it.