Attending a conference with a colleague was a first for me. I usually tend to fly solo as 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’. *Furk for me is all about doing what you love with people that you love’ so one of the most important parts of making networking FUN and into ‘netfurking’ 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 300 people in the room and yet 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 author’s including Deepak Chopra & Eckhart Tolle. And the list goes on….we were *netfurking 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. Which brings me to the 2nd faux pas…
2) Don’t get trashed at the bar when at an event. You have only 2 days and need to make the most of your time and you can’t afford to embarrass yourself or have a foggy head the next day when you are there to learn. Late afternoon on Day 2 I had a guy fall asleep in the chair next to me who 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. You’re at *furk. So be yourself and trust the right people will see who you are and what you’re about.
2) Be Bold – You have to be confident & 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 opportunity. 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 after a big event following up. On average 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 stay in regular contact with. Everyone would go into my database and some onto newsletters, Face Book, Linked In, 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