So next week I am off to NATPE! One of the best conferences I have ever attended. Where the big TV networks are doing business on private yachts, in cabanas by the pool and in $500,000 suites.
I love networking, so I thought now would be a good time to share some tips as I prepare for the conference A.K.A. networking extravaganza. Attending a conference last year with a colleague was a first for me as I usually tend to fly solo when I network. Mostly because I have such a clear idea of what I hope to achieve at an event. It was therefore a great experience to find my travel companion had a like-minded focus; to have fun and connect with people.
One of the most important parts of making networking fun is that I must connect with people that I love, but at the same time I am there to do business to create opportunities and win-win situations.
My colleague and I easily had the most success of any attendees at the event. There were 500 people in the room and by day 2 we were known by over 80% of the room by name. We had arranged private meetings with 8 out of the 10 speakers. We had a private meeting with the top literary agent in California who has published over 10,000 authors including Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle. And the list goes on….we were networking machines.
Here are some of the things I noticed were our keys to success and some of the faux pas of other attendees, ‘the what not to do’s.’
Biggest Faux Pas
1. On Day 1 we were rather concerned about the calibre of people in the room. As one speaker later said to us, “The majority of the audience appeared to be dressed like homeless people.” It’s important that you dress to impress and make the best possible first impression. Remember you are not on a day off, you are there to create business opportunities.
2. Which brings me to the 2nd faux pas. Don’t get trashed at the bar… you are “on” 24/7 when at an event. You have only 2 days, need to make the most of your time and you cant afford to embarrass yourself or have a foggy head the next day when you are there to learn. Late afternoon on Day 2 a guy fall asleep in the chair next to me and started snoring loudly. What sort of impression does that make? And who would do business with him after that?
3. Statistics show that over 70% of people don’t follow up when they meet people at networking events. Why bother attending? You need to organize a time to catch up with people you have identified and start to build a relationship.
Key To Do’s
1. Have FUN and be yourself. Trust the right people will see who you are and what you’re about.
2. Be Bold – You have to be confident and courageous enough to ask for what you want. Try and get one on one meetings with the key people you want to work with and create a win-win opportunities. Ask if you can take them for a drink or bite to eat. This way you get to know them more personally.
3. Follow Up – Do what you say you will do. On average I would spend 4-7 hours following up after a big event. Most times, there would be 10 people I identified as keys players that I would organize to catch up with and 30 people I would want to contact on a regular basis. Every contact would go into my database and some onto newsletters, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and into my calendar to follow up in the future.
Chapter 3 in my book goes into detail about networking, relationship building, following up and conference tips. Please feel free to email me if you would like a free e-book of this chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay tuned to www.KirstyTV.com for full episodes of our interviews, when our talk show launches in March 2013. We will be sharing inspirational stories from our interviews with everyday people, celebrities and experts.
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