If you’ve been in the online marketing industry for more than a year or two, you’ll already have figured out that there’s no better use of your time than attending a professional conference, expo or workshop. So how to get most from the conferences?
Here’s a list of ways that you can maximize your networking when you’re meeting other attendees:
1. Bring Professional Business Cards — It’s surprising how many people have no cards or, actually worse than not having cards, correct things on their card before they hand them to you. This is easy: If your phone number changes, if you have a new URL on Facebook, if you added a new degree or certification, reprint your cards and recycle the old ones. With 150 cards for $10 through sites like Vistaprint, there’s no excuse.
2. Have your elevator pitch ready — If you only have a few seconds to explain what you do and your business to someone else, make sure that it’s an accurate, succinct and interesting description. I explain that I offer “custom how-to videos for corporate clients to feature on their own site. Clients like Intel and Kingston Technology”, and by the time I’m done, we’re chatting about video and their needs in that market.
3. Don’t skip the parties and networking events / Make new friends fast — You’re at a trade show. It’s not the time to catch up on movies in your hotel room or meet with your old high school sweetheart. Ask people what their plans are in the evening and invite yourself along to group dinners, head to the parties, and don’t forget that breakfasts and post event drinks are both excellent times to meet people too.
4. Pay attention to other attendees — We’re all excited about our smartphones, tablets and computers, but it’s alarmingly frequent now to find someone you’d like to meet heads down, texting, checking Facebook or answering email. You’re at a conference. Be present. Everything else can easily wait.