Attending events has become an unofficial requirement of running your own business. You must be strategic when deciding what special events to attend, what actions to take why you’re there and how to follow up.
In the beginning, special events might seem frustrating. You might question whether it is worth your time and money. It is critical to remember why you are there. The success of your business and your professional reputation can be built or broken on many of the interactions you have at these events. So, now that you’ve gotten through the initial trauma of entering the room, what are some of the most important things to do?
Make Sure You’re In The Right Room
No, I don’t mean room 201b versus 301b. Who is in your company? What do the attendees represent and how can they help you? How can you help them? Do not spend your time with a population of people if it cannot be beneficial for one or both of you. Think beyond transactional relationships. Building strategic partnerships is the key when networking at events.
Do Not Get Overwhelmed
There are hundreds of events across the city every week, some which are worth your time and some which are not. Make priorities and stick to them. Based on location, topic, attendees and even price you can easily omit many events that may not fit your specific needs. Try not to get burnt out. Allow yourself a certain number per week or month and stick to it.
Blog About It
The best way to get the most out of your event is to write about it afterwards. Not only will you remind yourself of key takeaways, but you will share with your readers what you’ve experienced. Linking to the speakers website will get their attention and is a way to thank them publicly for sharing their knowledge. Finally, do not forget to share your blog across your social media communities to get the most bang for your buck.
Sometimes popular events can be one big business card-swapping party. It can get ridiculous if you are not strategic. Offer your business card to genuine quality contacts. After the event send a nice thank you card to your new contacts (or email, if you must), and offer to get together again soon. Regular contact afterwards is essential to building referral relationship for the future.
Event marketing takes time and patience. Try and gauge whether you are benefiting from specific events to determine whether or not to attend again. By being conscientious of your actions you can make events a vital part of your business strategy rather than a waste of your day.