Who’s ready for San Jose?! I travel often, so I hear questions like, “how can I make the most of Get Real” all the time! Here are 11 tips that will help you enhance your Get Real experience!! Whether you’re there to learn or to be a leader for your team, networking is a HUGE part of the Get Real experience. Make this year’s conference the springboard that will launch your business to the Next Level!!
1. Eat before you arrive.
Take my word for it. I can’t tell you how distracting it is to be at an event and being unable to think about anything but food! Even if there are hors d’oeuvres, eat them sparingly. It’s difficult to balance your things, a plate of food, a drink and your conversation. Then what if you have to shake someone’s hand?! If you eat before, it’s one less thing to worry about.
2. Have a plan and follow it.
Why are you there? Who do you want to meet? Ben Franklin said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s a little medicinal, but the message is true here too! By doing your homework before you mingle, you can take a lot of the stress out of networking. If you don’t have a goal, your focus will be on value of your conversation partner instead of the value of your conversation!
3. Put away your phone.
You don’t need it. Really. How does Facebook fit in with the goal you set for yourself? If you must use your phone, do it sparingly, but use your best judgment. I use mine to take photos with people I meet so I can connect with them later. Once the photos are taken though, I put it away. With the exception of MAJOR announcements, posting to social media can wait. Enjoy the moment!
4. Be Yourself.
The most important part of networking events is meeting new people and creating the awesome connections that might help you jumpstart your business or career! There’s no value in those connections if you begin that foundation built on a lie. Be honest with who you are and what you want so that you start off on the right foot!
5. Treat introductions like new friendships.
Networking isn’t about trading pitches and moving on to the next person. Take the time to develop a relationship — don’t abandon them the minute your spiel is over. This is huge!! Your new friend can introduce you to others that might be able to help you! Putting in quality time allows you to help one another because you know their needs!
6. Use the bar.
Networking isn’t easy for everyone. If you struggle with it, the bar (coffee or otherwise) is a great place to casually strike up a conversation. People use the bar to escape the stresses of mixing and mingling, so take it slow. It’s not a place to ambush a VIP, but it could be a good place to build a business connection. Either way, you’ll have a genuine interaction.
7. Listen first.
This is a great opportunity to learn about new people and explore business opportunities. You already know what you bring to the table, so use the time to learn about others. You might see your business in a new way or discover a fresh insight. Everyone has something to teach you!
8. Take notes on new friends.
Did you remember your business cards? If you exchange a lot of cards, they’ll all start to look the same. Instead of just collecting them, write notes about your conversation on the back of the card. If you want your follow-up (we’ll get to that) to be effective and genuine, it should reflect the conversation you had! A follow-up email that’s personal and detailed will impress your new friend.
9. Don’t work the room.
A few conversations will lead to more meetings and real leads than dozens of rapid “how-do-you-dos.” Make the most of your time and make those conversations count! Remember, have a plan and stick to it! You’re not here to make a sale. You’re here to make a connection!
10. Pace yourself.
Networking events are a marathon, not a sprint! The essentials can’t be overlooked. If you’re drinking, enjoy in moderation! Slurring your words won’t help make business connections. It may be a “party” but that’s not an excuse to go crazy. Save that for your personal time.
11. Follow up.
This is the most important tip I can share. Even if you do EVERYTHING else, it will all be wasted if you don’t follow up. At the end of each night, I go through the cards I got, write down my thoughts and post the photos I took.
Now that you have guidance, take the next step!! Use this conference to take your business to the next level!!