Class Reunions: Do’s and Don’ts

Many countries throughout the world have class reunions for high school and sometimes for college, too. During a recent radio interview, I was asked, “What do you do at a class reunion? How do you make it worthwhile for yourself?” I thought it might be of value to share the answers that I gave for each of the questions.

Elevator Pitch: What to say when you’re asked, “What have you been up to? What do you do?”

The idea with an elevator pitch is to tell people what you do in a very short period of time. And it’s important in that elevator pitch, or your weekly presentation at your networking group, to keep it simple. Don’t try to tell everything you do in a short amount of time. Avoid using industry jargon. Share your Unique Selling Proposition.  

You want to talk about what makes you different, and, more important than anything else, you want to be very clear about what things will look like after you do what you do. Don’t just say, “I’m an accountant.” or “I’m a lawyer.” Describe how the situation has changed for a client after they have used your services or products.

Body Language: Is there a way to stand that subliminally invites people to have a conversation with you?

I’ve written and talked about the importance of open groups, and about Open Twos and Open Threes in previous blogs and BNI Podcasts. You always want to be in a stance that is inviting

You want to make and maintain good eye contact throughout the conversation, too. I believe it is really important to stay focused on the person that you are talking with. I also think it’s important to use some hand gestures. Not where your hands are constantly moving, however, you can use gestures that are well matched to your message. Your facial expressions are something else to be aware of, remember that every facial expression tells a story. 

Should you keep the conversation light? How personal should you get?

My answer is that contextual intelligence is key here. How well you knew them in school should determine how deep you go in a conversation. If you knew each other well, it’s okay to talk about more personal topics than if you barely knew them. If you barely knew them in school, don’t try to go into a deep conversation.

What if you’re feeling nervous about going?

I think many people might feel nervous about something like a reunion. My advice is to reach out to a couple of your friends from school if you’re nervous about going. Contact some people that you’ve kept in touch with and see if they’re going to the event. If so, make sure to meet with them as soon as you get there. If you meet somebody that you were good friends with in high school or in college as you arrive, then you’re going to feel more comfortable walking into the reunion. 

How can you become an “opportunity magnet” at your class reunion?            

Remember that the reunion is an opportunity to reconnect with people. Master networkers keep their eyes and ears open for opportunities to help others. When a former classmate says they have a problem or are looking for someone in a certain industry, offer to connect them to someone you know who can help them. When you learn about their profession, ask how you can help them in their business. Being helpful can make you memorable after the reunion.

Should you try to sell your product or service?

My answer is brief. NO – absolutely don’t sell to them. Don’t make the mistake of using the class reunion as a face-to-face cold calling opportunity. Desperation is not referable, it’s not saleable. I’ve gone to class reunions where people have done that. It just doesn’t work. People really do want solutions for their problems, they just don’t want to be sold to – especially at a school reunion.

Update social media?

Should you update your LinkedIn page or your social media before you go to the event?
My answer is YES. You always want to keep your social media pages up to date because anyone who really wants to connect with successful people at the reunion is going to do a search on you to see how you’re doing and what you’re up to.

What about following up?

How do you follow up with revived contacts after the reunion? Do you reconnect on social media, ask for their phone number, or what?
You definitely want to reconnect and keep in touch with old friends. I recommend that you ask for their business card or ask for their social media moniker and then connect with them either via social media or by email after you see them at a class reunion. Reminder: don’t try to sell to them when you follow up!

I hope you find these tips useful when you attend YOUR class reunion so that you have an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.
Share your story about using these suggestions in the comment section below.

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