One of the best investments you can make as a solopreneur or business is in your personal development. As a business owner you can only grow as far as your skills and knowledge can take you.
That’s why attending seminars, conferences and workshops is such a valuable experience.
I recently attended the WOW (Woman of Worth) Conference in Vernon BC and it was a fantastic experience. The founder, Christine Awram, has been holding these conferences for several years. Each event promises excellent motivational and inspirational speakers plus great opportunities to meet and mingle with like-minded women.
This year was exceptionally great due to one of our clients, Dana Smithers, being invited to be one of the keynote speakers.
She talked about the Law of Attraction and started a chain reaction of events that lead me to being up on stage taking a bow to a standing ovation! (The exercise was to put my intention out to the world that I am open to receiving speaking opportunities so hey, if you know of any… )
In addition to gaining next-level strategies, events like these offer an incredible opportunity to meet prospects, JV partners, and vendors.
So how can you make the most of your next event? Here’s some pro tips to network like a superstar.
1) Rock Your Appearance.
Let your outfit be a conversation starter. Wear something that makes you feel like a million bucks and helps you radiate confidence.
Bring a killer accessory like a unique pin, scarf, or pair of shoes that gets you noticed. Make a great first impression that makes people think “I have to meet that person.”
2) Prepare Yourself Mentally.
Know your purpose for being there. Be passionate about what you do and let it shine.
What do you want to learn? Look at the list of speakers and make a point to say hello to them. Ask yourself what 3 types of people you’d like to meet. Get specific. Visualize these people in the morning before the workshop or conference begins.
This will help you attract exactly the right type of connections you will benefit most from.
3) Show Up Early.
Arrive with extra time so you can grab a coffee, visit the vendor tables, and get to know a few people before everything starts to get busy. Be on the lookout for people with whom you feel you can connect with and strike up a conversation with them.
Attending early also gives you an opportunity to get a seat close enough to better see and hear the on-stage happenings.
4) Be a Giver.
Have you ever met someone whom you feel wants to get something from you? It gives off a bad negative energy, doesn’t it? Avoid this from happening to you by shifting your energy to one of abundance and ask yourself how you can best serve others.
When you meet someone be curious. Get to know them. Ask questions. Find out how you can help this person.
There is always a resource, compliment, connection, book, tip, or tool that you can offer to help someone.
Can you interview them on your podcast? Can you review their book on your blog? Can you co-host a webinar with them? While I was at the WOW event, I recorded 3 video eTips and did a couple of Facebook LIVE videos. How can you capitalize on your time in a similar manner?
5) Ask for Their Business Card.
It is always better to ask for the other person’s card. Asking for their card feels better than shoving yours in their hand.
Plus that leaves you in control so that you can send a follow-up when you return from the event.
Write a note about what you learned or spoke about with them on the card so you can reference it when you write them afterwards.
6) Share the Event Socially.
Social Media is a great tool for building and maintaining relationships. Take plenty of pics at the event to share on social media.
Do Facebook LIVE on location. Your followers want to see where you are. Take pictures with the speakers and other people you meet.
This is me with Christine after the event was over. As you can see, wine is a big part of her brand. That and chocolate!
Plus you can send these pictures to the friends you meet in your follow up.
Try tagging them on social media and give them a shout out saying how nice it was to meet them. You can attach a picture with them in a follow-up email. This is a heartfelt way to share warmth with a new connection.
7) Switch it Up.
Try sitting with different people at lunch. Join groups for after workshop dinner and conversation. Sometimes the chit-chat that occurs before and after the event can lead to the best connections.
8) Step Up to the Mike.
If there is a Q&A opportunity, step up to the microphone and let your question be heard. You’ll get a chance to introduce yourself to the whole room and get expert answers to your question.
Often times people will come up to you afterwards and say how they related to what you shared.
9) Give a Testimonial.
If you loved the event, be vocal about it. Tell the event coordinator and offer a testimonial. You can also record a Facebook video testimonial and tag the event coordinator on social media.
Email a written testimonial to the event host. They may post it on their website and give you massive exposure.
10) Love ’em Up.
There is a Chinese proverb that says “A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers.” When you get back home after the event, the most important part is following up with and nurturing relationships you made.
Here it’s a strategy of quality, not quantity. Sort through the cards you received. Narrow them down to the few people you had a real connection with and send a warm, genuine email.
Is there any further suggestion or resource you can send them as a follow-up to your conversation? You want them to experience their life is better now having met you.
And don’t forget to post to your social media accounts and send an email to your list about your experience too!
Attending industry conferences or seminars keep you up-to-date with the latest changes that are occurring within the industry. But equally valuable is the chance to meet other like-minded individuals and build connections that can last a lifetime.
Susan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.