You know what problem I have realized? A lot of us suck at making the most of the conferences and events that we attend. I recently went to my first conference this March and I realized after the event that the little prep-work I did wasn’t enough. I had done some research and listened to a great podcast from Jayson Gaignard called “Community Made.” Episode 3 of Season 2: An Event Networking Guide had great content and info but I didn’t do a good enough of a job applying it.
Since I didn’t make the most of the conference, and I am sure many of us have found ourselves wondering if the money and time we spent going was worth it, I figured I would help us all. Over the next few posts, I will put down some of the ideas and concepts that I have learned and experienced firsthand. In the meantime, here is a general overview of what will be coming down the pipeline, and here is a video that lays it all out.
- Find an attendees list, or hashtag to research, and pick 5-10 people you would like to meet.
- Do research on the attendees and narrow the list to 3-5
- Reach out to these individuals pre-conference and introduce yourself and create a no pressure invite to connect.
- Plan out the morning of your conference
- Do a mini work out
- Leave with plenty of time to get there
- Don’t follow your game plan so rigidly you walk around the conference looking like an idiot
- Be prepared with questions to ask your list of folks or any of the other attendees.
- Remember, everyone is a little nervous and no one is used to mingling in crowds this size
- Be ready and willing to break the ice with folks
- Have a handful of conversation enders in your back pocket.
- Send brief email to everyone you grabbed a card from
- Follow up on what you said you would follow up on
- Follow up with those you ended up not meeting at the conference
Above all, this is about planting seeds of relationships. This is not necessarily the time to ask for the sale or even go deep. Plant the seed, water it, and see how it grows.