Introduction from Part One posted yesterday:
This may happen naturally…or not at all. So, what can you do to pave the way for conference success? Here are some tips for making the most of your experience, maximizing its value through personal contacts. (Be sure and check the first tips in yesterdays post!)
7. Don’t be afraid to ask people to remind you of their name if you think you may know them. They will be glad you did, as they may not remember yours and feel too embarrassed to ask. Always make notes on the back of business cards so you don’t forget what you talked about, which facilitates following up.
8. Ask questions. Invite others to describe their businesses. Find out whether they’re enjoying the conference, what they’ve learned and their recommendations on the best sessions. Everyone attending a conference has opinions, so solicit them.
9. When asked about your job, explain it in terms of how you help people. Forget the canned elevator pitch, and don’t try to sell anything. You’re building a relationship, and you’re best served by speaking about the issues with which people struggle. Focus on them first — not you and what you do.
10.Build credibility and trust. Develop a comfort level with those around you. Humor helps (if you’re good with it), but avoid sarcasm and negativity.
11. Withhold judgment. Never make assumptions based on dress, age, hair color or other physical attributes, especially if you work in a field of online professionals. You never know who you’ll “dismiss.”
12. Smile and look interested in others — even when you’re tired and suffering from conference overload. Other attendees are likely experiencing the same burnout. Share these feelings to connect.
13.Send a postcard within 48 hours to remind fellow attendees that you’ve met. Include a personal note about something they said or that occurred. If you intend to call them, let them know. Then call when you say you will. Send a second card 7–10 days later. Your objective: to build a relationship.
14.Be clear about the specific actions you want people to take. Explain how their actions will benefit them (or both of you). Always address “what’s in it for them,” and be sure to provide an easy way for them to respond.
After a conference, many people return to their offices inspired and motivated, only to feel inert and overwhelmed after settling into their routines. Maintaining your energy and inspiration is much easier if you follow up and reconnect with those you’ve met.