Bringing Your “A” Game to Conference Season
How can it be fall already?
One of my favorite times of the year. The leaves start to change, the air starts to get cooler. Weekends are filled with football games and long drives though the country.
Yet fall is not simply for scarves and pumpkin spice lattes, it is also one of the busiest times of the year for businesses. The summer is over, the fiscal year is coming to an end, and with it come new pressures and deadlines.
It is also conference season. A phrase that strikes dread into the hearts of even the most experienced networkers. Yet these events can be instrumental in developing new relationships and building your practice.
If you have to attend these things, then why not bring your networking game with you?
Here are a few tips to ensure that you are making the most of this year’s conference season.
- Be Prepared This is an extremely busy time of the year, so it is important that you are maximizing your experience at these conferences. The best way to do that is to be prepared. Just how do you prepare for an event? First off, by knowing what type of event you are attending and researching issues pertinent to the group. Another way you can prepare is by seeing who else will be attending. Are there going to be leaders in the industries you represent? Will there be a former client you haven’t spoken to in a while? Knowing who will be there will allow you to target certain people and make sure you have a quality interaction with them.
- Set Achievable Expectations Staring out at a sea of new faces, it is easy to feel overwhelmed at these events. This is why I advise my clients to shrink the playing field. It is impossible to meet and connect with every single person there, so we aren't going to try. Instead, focus on making three to five impactful connections. All of a sudden you aren’t at an event with hundreds of people, you are there to meet a handful. This will put your mind at ease and allow you to feel positive about the experience.
- Follow Through I love to play tennis. My coach is always talking about the importance of the follow through. A proper follow through ensures that you hit the ball properly, it ensures that you hit the ball in the direction you want, and it reduces the chance of injury. What does this have to do with conference season? Because what you do after the event is crucial to the making it a success. Before you rush home, take a few minutes and write down notes from the conversations you had. Write them directly on the back of the business card you received. The notes can be anything from topics you discussed to things you had in common. These valuable bits of information are going to personalize the relationship you just created. Now in the next few days be sure to reach out to your new connections via email and social media. From there you have the foundation of an authentic relationship, and that is what marketing is all about.
Do you have any of your own conference season tips? I’d love to hear them. Leave a comment in the section below.
Thanks for reading and have a great week.