I just got back from Copy Chief Live, which is my biggest networking event of the year.
I’m exhausted and happy at the same time. My muscles feel like mush. And I may or may not have eaten a prime rib pizza by myself, before collapsing into bed at 9pm last night.
Right now, there’s a box of apple fritters sitting on the kitchen table with my name on it.
But I promised myself I’d write you this article first.
So, today’s article is about how I make the most of events, even though I’m not a natural networker.
I think of events as a chance to make friends.
Over the years, some of these friends have turned into clients, mentors, confidantes, and coaching students of mine.
Here’s how I make those connections:
1. Meals Matter
There’s something special about having a meal with someone. Suddenly, you’re transformed from awkwardly shaking hands to, “You seem cool and we have stuff in common. Let’s see how we can work together.” If you hate giving elevator pitches and handing out business cards, then this strategy is for you. Tip: Make sure to pick networking events that allow plenty of time for meals.
2. Event Size Matters
You’re looking for quality of contacts, not quantity. Copy Chief Live is a small event, but everyone in the room is exactly the right kind of person for me. At one point, I looked around the room and realized every single person that mattered in my business was in the room for the first time… and they all liked each other! Not many people can say that about their business.
3. How You Introduce Yourself Matters
Start thinking beyond the elevator pitch. Whip up a short introduction for yourself that would sound impressive from the mic. Then, find a way to ask a question during Q&A time at the event. Try this script, “Hi, my name is ___. I do x for y. I loved the way you were talking about z. What do you think about <insert topic>.” Phrase your intro so it sets you up as an equal to the speaker. That way, you can have a peer-to-peer interaction, instead of a “the sky is falling, please save me” interaction.
4. Your Attitude Matters
Your approach to the event needs to be along the lines of, “I know what’s been working for me, and I’m looking for ways to make it even better.” No matter where you are in your business, there’s at least one thing that’s been working for you. Capitalize on that strength to keep you going through the event. Without that positive attitude, it’s a struggle to keep up the energy at the event, especially if the event is a multi-day event that involves staying up late.
5. Your Persona Matters
Your persona is a mix of your personality, your reputation, what you’ve created so far, and even, what you happen to be wearing that day. You don’t have to be a flashy dresser, be well known, or have an outgoing personality. What you DO have to have is the ability to highlight your strengths consistently. If you’re a wallflower, skip the fancy, noisy happy hour. Instead, hang out of the hallway with the quiet early birds in the morning. Those quiet talks are more likely to turn into long-term friendships, than connections made while shouting over the music coming from the bar.
6. Naps Matter
Do whatever it takes to keep your energy regulated. Being the life of the party for multiple days in a row is a losing battle. Know your rhythms and take breaks when you need them. People would be much happier to have your attention after you’ve rested a bit, than trying to pull you out of your shell because you hit a wall. Tip: Try not to miss out on meals together. If you have to choose between missing a speech or missing a meal, skip the speech so you can be at your best for the shared meal.
7. Your Followup Matters
If you meet someone you liked, send them a short note to thank them. Those simple notes and Facebook messages have turned into long-term friendships and client relationships for me. I’m not a natural networker, and I often forget to send notes, so I appreciate it when someone reaches out to me.
What’s next: If you’d like to discover how a former 9th grade Algebra teacher/SAHM helps multi-million-dollar businesses increase sales with simple “teach for action” techniques, then go to www.9BuyerSystem.com