Or how to maximize your WIBN conference ticket
Whether you’re a type-A networking mogul or just learning the lay of the business landscape, your ticket to WIBN is also a ticket to connectivity. Now before you scoff and remind me about Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, blah, blah, blah – remember this:
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I am at the top of the list for qualifiers for Twitter-anonymous. I want to talk to everyone. Being online is my business. But the networks I use are just tools to help me connect with people. They will never replace a face-to-face conversation.
An adventure in in networking – make it work for you
Conferences supply challenge and opportunity in equal parts for most people. Some of us instinctively duck crowds and intuitively gravitate to the people we know best. I love investing in my business development and connecting with leaders I know, but in the midst of this, it’s easy to miss big opportunities. Meeting people I’ve never met before.
Face-to-face networking takes a lot of time and energy but what makes it effective? Smart business people know it’s not the wine, the hors d’oeuvres or the even the conference – it’s the people. Below are a few of the lessons I try to live by when I’m at an event to meet people. The list is far from complete so read it with an eye of what you can add.
Let’s be honest about the ‘food chain’ – it’s impossible to escape. When well-known, influential people attend conferences, they get center stage in every conversation. But I’m going to share a secret with you, paying attention to the ‘little people’ can often teach you more about yourself and why you’re there than someone who’s ego needs constant feeding.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s always something to learn from someone who’s carved a successful path in business. But they aren’t the only teachers out there. As a former journalist and writing instructor, I used to tell my students that being published doesn’t make you a good writer. It does make you a good marketer though.
Find the unsung heroes…
Be fully present
With so many distractions at a conference – digital and otherwise – it’s incredibly difficult to stay focused on the person standing in front of you. Our minds race, thinking about what we’ll say next or how not to mess up this conversation rather than what the person is saying.
Guess what? Staying focused makes each connection more meaningful and provides fodder for follow-up conversations. So while you’re at the conference, put your
dumb smart phone down and look up and into the eyes of the person in front of you.
Be proactive in your follow up
After the conference, follow up with people. Send them emails and connect with them on your favorite social networks – but do it in a meaningful way. Personalize your LinkedIn invite with a reminder of where you met. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook and reach out with a personal message to let them know how much the meeting meant to you.
Some conferences deliver great content. Some deliver great networking opportunities. It’s our hope here at the Women in Biz Network that we’ll over-deliver on both fronts.
What are you most looking forward to at our S.M.a.R.T. Conference? How can we help ensure you get the most out of every minute you spend with us?
And if you don’t have your ticket yet, please remember that early bird sales end this week. Get your ticket and let’s continue THIS conversation in real life: WIBN Conference.