I love conferences.
I love to travel, meet new people, and learn from experts in my field.
This March I went to Social Media Marketing World. This was my second year at SMMW and was just as amazing as the first time. The first time I was there I went as a volunteer. I remember going through the volunteer training and seeing faces of the team on the slide deck and saying to myself, “I want to be on that slide deck someday”. Well, guess what? I did it. This year I was in the slide deck during the volunteer training.
They used my testimonial and this year I was part of the networking team. How did I do it? I showed up. The funny thing about it all is I almost didn’t go the first year. I was nervous and scared of the unknown and it felt easier to just stay home. Thank goodness I didn’t listen to myself this time. Going to conferences can be scary and uncomfortable but 9 times out of 10 it is always the right decision and I always walk away being so thankful that I went.
While Social Media Marketing World is one of the biggest networking events of the year, these tips can really apply to any live event that you may be attending. No matter how big or how small.
- Dress professional-it may say casual or come-as-you-are, but remember you are representing your business and your brand at all times while at these events. You don’t have to wear a 3-piece suite or a tie, but dress the part. Look professional yet approachable. Look like you want to do business.
- Smile-whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, your smile can change everything. Let people know you are open to making new connections and to learning about their business. Smile at everyone. You never know who you might meet.
- Ask questions-not sure what to say to people? Not sure how to sell yourself? Then don’t. Ask people what they do. Why are they here? Where are they from? Make it a natural conversation. You have to build a relationship before you can sell or ask for anything.
- Say yes-if someone asks you to join them for lunch, coffee, or drinks after the conference or betweens sessions, say YES! Meet new people. Yes, it might be uncomfortable at first but it will get easier. And if you went with a bunch of people you already know, break from them every now and then.
- Be in the moment-sometimes I find myself sitting in a session and I will start to think about work or things I need to get done and I will have missed everything the speaker said. Be present in that moment. You paid good money to attend the conference so give it all you have.
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