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“Because of the nature of Cork Meet, it is not like the other networking events that happen on a regular basis,” says Sean O’Sullivan, chief executive of the South Cork Enterprise Board, involved since the first event in 2009.
“It’s quite focused, it’s quite strategic in nature, based on unique software that finds out exactly what the company is looking for in a one on one meeting.”
Cork Meet takes place place on Wednesday 10 April and is expecting almost 600 companies to take part over the course of three days. Each participant will have up to 16 one on one meetings with speakers confirmed including Deirdre O’Connor, managing director of Goldman Sachs in New York and Susan Hayes, author of ‘The savvy woman’s guide to financial freedom.’
“I would advise companies not to come to the event with just the sole purpose of buying and selling,” says Mr O’Sullivan on the power of the individual meetings.
“Have a number of results you want to see, along with a strategy in place. You never know who knows who, and while a meeting may not work out it could lead to another introduction.”
While keen to stress that Cork Meet is a different form of networking, with more specific targets to aim for, Mr O’Sullivan adds that the informal networking options are also available.
“There will be opportunities on the fringes of the event to continue the informal process of networking, especially during the conference speakers.”
It’s not all plain sailing for participants after they sign up for the event however.
“Many people think that you sign up and that’s that until the event itself,” warns Mr O’Sullivan.
“You have to do a bit of work before hand, which isn’t really a lot of work at all. Participants have a profile to build, and the more effort you put into the profile, the better results our algorithms will produce for the meetings. Those who put in the effort get the benefits.”
Mr O’Sullivan highlights that prioritising what you want from the event will result in better meetings, and hopefully, better results for the participants.
“It just makes it far easier to match up those looking for the same thing.”
The software being used by Cork Meet was developed in part by Midleton man Mark Jordan for a French company a number of years ago to host similar size conventions. The software allows the organisers to expect the unexpected and rearrange meetings if necessary.
“As with any major event with a lot of people attending, there is a chance that five or six either won’t make it on the day or be late for a variety of reason. However our software allows us to rearrange the meetings so that participants will only miss one meeting and will have the other free spaces filled.”
The catalogue of companies involved is expected to be finalised in mid-March, and there is already nearly 250 companies involved. Mr O’Sullivan stresses that being included in the catalogue is the best way to get the name out there before the event.
“At the end of the day, we do live in a new electronic world with email, social media and instant information,” says Mr O’Sullivan.
“However there is nothing to compare to actually meeting someone and speaking with them. While relationships may not immediately bear fruit, it could take weeks and months, but it is the best way to get to know someone.
Moire details on how to join the list of Cork Meet, in the Rochestown Park Hotel on Wednesday 10 April, is available on corkmeet.ie.