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Tips for Networking at a Government Contracting Event Blog Feature
Leslie Crowley

By: Leslie Crowley on June 12th, 2023

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Tips for Networking at a Government Contracting Event

Government Business Development | 4 Min Read

So, you are a federal contractor and would like to increase your business in the federal government marketplace. Just like the commercial world, networking is a key component to making connections and marketing your company to government customers. It can be intimidating, but just remember, most people feel the same way. Now that events are starting to ramp back up again, both in-person and virtually, it’s important to know how to effectively network. In this blog, we’ll talk about a few tips to help you make the most out of a government networking and industry days event.

5 Tips for Networking at a Government Contracting Event

1. Prepare ahead of time: Research the companies and organizations that will be in attendance and prepare your elevator pitch in advance. This will help you feel confident and ready to make connections when you arrive. This includes researching government agencies in attendance. Find out if there are any expiring contracts or forecasted opportunities in their pipeline as well as other information that might be useful in conversation. Showing buyers or potential partners that you have prior knowledge of their needs along with the best solution will confirm that you are a subject matter expert in this industry.

2. Bring business cards: Have a stack of business cards ready to pass on to anyone you meet who expresses interest in your services or expertise. Make it easy on yourself to produce the cards quickly so keep them handy – it’s distracting if you are constantly searching for your cards. To remember people later, write something about them and your conversation on the back of their business card if you can.

3. Be a good listener: When someone is sharing their experiences or expertise, give them your full attention. People appreciate being heard and understood.

4. Exchange contact information: After you have had a conversation with someone and have established a connection, ask for their contact information and follow up with a few days to keep the momentum going. Besides sending a follow up email, send a LinkedIn connection request and reference event. It’s best not to use standard request but send a personalized message. This business is very competitive, and you want to be remembered, so don’t wait too long.

5. Have a positive attitude: Remember to smile, be approachable, and have a positive attitude. First impressions are everything and people are more likely to want to work with someone who is positive and enthusiastic.

Now that you have some of the basics down, it’s important you have an effective elevator pitch prepared. You may not have a lot of face time with each person you network, so you’ll want to have something put together to highlight the most crucial parts of your company and solutions.

Preparing an Effective Elevator Pitch for Your Company

It’s sometimes tough to get started so try to prepare an “elevator pitch” ahead of time that communicates value. An elevator pitch is a short, persuasive speech that is meant to spark interest in a person, product, or service, or organization. It’s typically delivered in the span of an elevator ride, hence the name. The goal of an elevator pitch is to capture the listener’s attention quickly and succinctly, presenting key information in a compelling and engaging manner.

An effective elevator pitch typically includes:

  1. Introduction: Quickly introduce yourself or your product and/or service.
  2. Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Clearly communicate what makes you or your product/service unique, and why it is valuable or necessary.
  3. Benefits: Highlight the benefits that the listener can expect to receive from working with you or using your product/service.
  4. Call to action: Conclude the pitch with a specific call to action, such as scheduling a follow-up meeting or requesting further information.

Elevator pitches are often used in networking events where a person needs to quickly and effectively communicate their value proposition. It’s important to practice and refine your elevator pitch to ensure it’s clear, concise, and impactful. You do not want to sound like everyone else in the room.

Have an Action Plan

Now you have perfected your elevator speech, let’s create an action plan for your next networking event. Here are some steps to take:

  • Who do you want to meet and what other networking events do they attend?
  • There are multiple groups that hold networking events – join their notification list.
  • What events do your current customers attend, that could be a good place to start.
  • Arrive early – check out the list of attendees, sometimes that list could be posted early on the event site.
  • Is there a member directory?
  • Be ready to provide your core strength in 30 seconds, if your listener is interested, go for your elevator pitch.
  • It’s important to listen, it’s not all about you and ask how you can help them.

Are You Ready for Your Next Event?

If you are planning to attend a networking event soon, you can walk in with confidence because now you’ll know how to prepare in advance. If you need some help finding upcoming events, GSA has a site for upcoming events including virtual trainings and in person Industry Days events. Another great site is, which highlights government and military events. You can also join and participate in specific industry groups. Besides trying to network with federal agencies in these events, there also could be potential teaming and subcontracting partners.

In addition to being prepared how to network at an event, you should also make sure your GSA Schedule contract is updated and maintained. If you make a good connection with a government agency or a prospective partner, the last thing you want to do is have outdated pricing or products and services. If you need help with maintaining your GSA Schedule, you can check out our blog, “10 Tips for Successfully Maintaining Your GSA Schedule,” or one of our consultants would be happy to help you manage your contract.

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About Leslie Crowley

Leslie Crowley is a Lead Account Manager for Winvale’s Public Sector department where she manages partner accounts under Winvale’s GSA MAS Large Category F contract. Leslie has vast experience building new business, securing customer loyalty, and forging strong relationships with external business partners.