This week we are focusing on what to do when we have finally arrived at the event– Modify and make the checklist work for you.
AT THE EVENT:
? Your Discovery Process. Think about these before every encounter: Learn something new, give something such as a piece of advice or a suggestion, take away a piece of information you can use later, and find a way to follow –up with those you had a solid connection with.
? Take a deep breath. You have arrived, you’ve done your homework and you’re ready!
? Be present. Turn off or silence all electronic devices to avoid distractions.
? Exude a positive attitude. Be ready to engage and enjoy the prospect of meeting new people and reconnecting with those you know.
? Enhance your self-confidence. Remember what you have to offer as an expert in your field and the firm brand that stands behind you. Have your 30-second introduction talk prepared for this event. Think, how do I wish to be remembered, what is my “headline” and benefit statement, and why should they care?
? Be open minded. Go to give and learn without any immediate expectations—except to learn, connect, and give away something. Think, there is someone here today that I can learn from and give something away (a piece of advice or information). Often those we least expect turn out to be excellent opportunities either for themselves or someone they know.
? Smile. Have a ready and genuine smile to show your interest and approachability (also a great confidence booster). Create the slow build.
? Firm handshake and connect. Make a positive, human connection. Ears and eyes open and ready to connect.
? Wear a name tag. Highlight your name tag—it’s a conversation starter. Place it on your right side, to be seen as people shake your right hand—the way our eyes naturally look.
? Listen and learn. Ask about the other person first — remember that true networking is about giving without concern that you will get something back. Make a point to actively listen and you will learn something new and useful. Listen with your eyes and ears, don’t interrupt and jot down later what you learned. (I am amazed about the information I pick up when I least expect it.) Be sure to ask them ‘what they do’—people love to talk about themselves and their interests and you will be remembered as a good conversationalist because you listened.
? Be ready to take the initiative. Approach others with positive expectations and genuine interest. Besides the people you identified in advance that you would hope to possibly meet—remember these folks to say hello to also—to maximize your attendance.
- Greeter and/or organizer
- People you meet in line as you are checking in
- Those in line to get a drink or food
- Someone standing alone-Remember–you only have to say hello, smile, and be pleasant. You will not have a full conversation with everyone you meet—yet you never know unless you reach out.
? Dive in! Look for a group or two or more that’s smiling and engaged; say hello and engage. Walk up to a group of at least three people—when it is just two people, they are already deep in conversation.
? Sit next to someone new. Set a goal to sit next to someone new and get to know them. Also plan to follow-up with them.
? Start a conversation with your dinner partner. If there is a meal involved, talk to those on either side of you, and even across the table when it is feasible. Make a point to sit with new people.
? Make connections and an action plan to follow-up. Have a goal to learn something about the people you meet and create reasons to follow-up and start building a rapport and hopefully a relationship.
? Find preferred methods of communication. Every busy person has a preferred method of communication. Ask, ‘what is your preferred method of communication for us to connect?” Email, telephone, text? Perhaps even Social Media. Make it easy for the person to reply to you when you reach out.
? Have an exit strategy. At events, everyone wants to talk and mingle. If you have made a concrete connection, you will have your agenda to follow up—when and how. To diplomatically disengage at the event—depending again on—if you are going to follow-up or it was someone you only talked with briefly at the event:
- It was great to meet you and I look forward to continuing our conversation. As we discussed, I will follow up with you (when they told you to follow up) and via (their communication preference).
- It was great chatting with you—I look forward to seeing you at another event. Thank you and enjoy the rest of the meeting.
- I’m very glad we met. Continued success and when I have an opportunity or suggestion for you, I will definitely be in touch.
Next week is Part 3 and most important– ‘What to do after the event….”