Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nine Ways to Power Network at Your Next Event

by KellerINK Team

Scott Ginsberg, The Nametag Guy, courtesy of
For many, networking is just another part of business trips. But for us, if you’re taking time away from your family and the office, you should be committed to getting the most out of every industry event you attend. And who better to learn networking dedication from than Scott Ginsberg—better known as “the nametag guy.” As the author of The Nametag Principle, Scott is so focused on meeting the right people that he’s worn a “Hello, my name is” nametag for over 12 years—he even got it tattooed on his chest.
“It breaks the ice,” he says. See, Scott’s strategy to make networking simple is to be approachable. Wearing a nametag automatically “portrays self-confidence in your identity,” he says. “It gives people a reason to say hello.”
So, what are some other tips to help jumpstart your stand-apart appeal at the next industry round up? We’ve compiled nine tricks of the trade that are sure to make your next meet-and-greet more productive and less daunting.
Nine Tips to Successful Networking
1. Have a plan. Take time before any event to figure out what you’re looking to accomplish. What do you want to learn? Which speakers do you want to hear? And what is the one networking goal you want to achieve at this conference? If you create a plan beforehand, you can concentrate on education and meeting your goal when you’re there.
2. Leave your business cards at home. When someone asks for your business card, apologize for being out and get theirs. Write a memorable note on the back with Sharpie. Instead of hoping they will follow-up with you, take ownership of the next contact.
3. Envision your introductions. Saddling up to strangers isn’t easy for everyone. So, visualize your conversations before they happen. Have a few easy questions in mind like, “What’s been your favorite seminar this session?” It doesn’t have to be clever or complicated. Sparking conversation—even with a simple “hello my name is”—can lead to idea exchange, insider info and future business relationships.
4. Arrive early. You may be a straggler by nature, but it’s best to be early to events if you’re looking to network. Groups haven’t formed yet, 15 minutes prior to show time. Plus, arriving before the rush will give you an opportunity to survey the room and strategically choose your seat to reach networking goals.
5. Change up your location. And, speaking of personal locale, make it a point to sit someplace new every day. Relocation will give you a greater chance to network and collaborate with a wide variety of attendees.
6. Put away the technology. When you look like you’re hard at work on your laptop, iPad or phone others won’t want to interrupt. Read that online gossip column when you get back to your hotel.
7. Don’t forget your notebook. What better way to solidify a new connection than to trade notes? You can’t be in two places at once, so take good notes and offer them to an attendee that missed that topic. Not only will you be a memorable contact, but you’ll also have a built-in reason for that follow-up call.
8. Follow up. This one is a no brainer, but we’ll say it anyway. Set a reminder to reach out to the new contacts you’ve made via email, phone or personal note post event. Remind them of the great conversation you had or offer up those notes you promised. Timely follow-up is a key tool for creating lasting contacts.
9. Be inviting. And finally, we’ll leave you with one simple success strategy from Scott: Behave as if you’re ready to meet people. And always remember to wear a nametag.
What other tricks of the trade do you use for networking at conferences?

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