This post sharing my 11 Tips to REALLY Network at a Conference is a sponsored post. I received LISTERINE® Brand products from Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. and Socialstars as part of my participation in this project. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. #LISTERINE
I recently spent nearly a week in Boston at an amazing blog conference! It was one of the best I have been to and I am hopeful to return again. Because I have gone to many blog conferences, I have developed strategies and techniques to maximize my time at these events. I always go to them with a plan in mind. One of the biggest reasons I go to blog conferences is to network. Yes there are things I can learn, but networking is how I grow my business, build new relationship and strengthen existing ones! Networking is one of the many ways that my blog has been able to go from a hobby to a business and much of that happened because of attending blog conferences. So today, I want to share with you my 11 Tips to REALLY Network at a Conference.
11 Tips to REALLY Network at a Conference
If you are undecided about whether or not you want to go to a blog conference, you might want to read my post about 11 Things I Learned at a Blog Conference here or my blog post on Why You Should Attend a Blog Conference here. And if you don't blog at all, it's ok, these tips work for ANY work event!!!
Have a Plan
Why are you attending this conference? What is your goal? What actionable steps can you take to achieve your goal? Your time is limited so spend your time in a way to accomplish your goals. For example, if you want to learn more about social media, be sure you go to all the classes on social media you can. If your goal is to find a brand to collaborate with, you might want to skip a class to really allow enough time to really get to know that company. If your goal is to come away with in-real-life blogger friends, then make sure you are meeting and mingling. Sit next to people you don't know and introduce yourself. Whatever your reason is for going to a blog conference, make sure while you are there, you make accomplishing that your number 1 goal.
Dress the Part
This is a question I know many first time blog conference attendees ask, what to wear! Here is my advice, check the dress code. Always obey that if there is one in place. Many blog conferences are casual, but some are business or business casual. I attended a blogger summit in NYC this past summer where dress was business casual. Business casual in NYC is what business looks like here in Indiana! Yikes! I had to do a little shopping to get ready for that, but for any other blog conference I have attended, I have been able to find something I already own to wear.
It is also very important to dress comfortable for you! If you love skirts, wear them! If you only wear jeans, don't feel the need to dress up in a skirt! Be yourself and let your clothing reflect that!
Because I go to many DIY conferences, we always joke that we should be allowed to wear our holey jeans with paint splatters on them. And while that would probably be allowed, I do always like to make a good impression with the many brands I meet, so this is a time I tuck those painted pants away and wear something a little nicer. (Unless of course I am working on a DIY project there and then those pants come with me too!)
I share a few other tips for what to wear to a blog conference in my post here.
Be sure you come prepared to make conversation with people. Whether it is with another blogger or a brand, you need to be prepared to make conversation! Have a 20 second pitch already in your head about what it is YOU do to pitch to brands, but save that for later. The most important thing to do is to ask them what THEY do. No, not how you can work with them, but what their company truly does. Engage the brand about their existing and upcoming products. Building a relationship with a brand is like building any relationship, you need to be genuinely interested in their company or else it is not a good fit for either of you.
Meeting new bloggers can be intimidating as well, but most of them are so so nice! So be prepared to sit next to new people, introduce yourself and have a few questions or topics of conversation prepared in the back of your mind to talk about. Who knows, you might just meet your new best friend while in the line to the bathroom!
In all honesty, I have met some of my best friends at blog conferences! So be prepared for anything and don't let an opportunity pass you by.
Although it can be intimidating to talk to people you might not know, one way I gain confidence is by ensuring that my breath smells fresh! LISTERINE® Pocketpaks are a great way to ensure that I have fresh smelling breath on the go at events like conferences where I am eating and around lots of people and I might not have time to brush my teeth after every meal.
Why LISTERINE® Pocketpaks? Because they are portable, they kill bacteria and they kill 99% of bad breath germs leaving your mouth feeling fresh and clean almost instantly. Which means while you are networking, you aren't worrying about chewing gum or talking with a breath mint in your mouth. And because a recent survey revealed that oral health care plays a big impact in your life including how others perceive you, this can have a direct impact on your career! Really. In fact, 7 in 10 Americans believe that an unhealthy mouth can threaten one's chance of being hired! For me, this means my chances of networking with bloggers and brands could be greatly diminished by improper oral health care.
Nearly all Americans suffer from some form of oral disease, but many of these oral care issues can be prevented by adding LISTERINE® as part of your daily oral health routine. In fact, LISTERINE® Antiseptic provides 21% greater gingivitis reduction and 52% more plaque reduction than merely brushing and flossing alone.
To find out more about LISTERINE® Brand products, visit www.listerine.com
Be More Interested in Them
Be more interested in them then you are talking about yourself. People love to tell their story and talk about their company! They want to hear about you too! But be polite and ask them about themselves first. This is a great way to begin any relationship.
Find a Way to Help Someone
You want to make a connection with a brand or another awesome blogger? While talking to them, find a way that you can help them! Know a great resource that will answer their question, give it to them. Even if this doesn't help you directly, your good will and willingness to help will help you stand out. And who knows, you might end up with a great friend or even campaign as a result of it!
Every brand and every blogger isn't a perfect fit. So be yourself, be genuine, be kind and if things work, great! If not, that's ok too.
Have Business Cards
Have business cards ready to give out, but don't push them on anyone too soon. Exchanging business cards is a really really great way to continue a relationship beyond the conference!
It IS Personal
You know the saying, it's not personal, it's business. Well I say that is 100% wrong when it comes to networking. It is 100% personal! If you are trying to network with other bloggers or brands, it is all about being kind, friendly, open, courteous, making a connection, and finding a way to help the other person. It is 100% personal. Even if you are working with a business, you are actually working with the people running the business, so always always always remember that relationships are super important. And the people should always come first. Always.
Focus on Building Relationships
Because it IS personal, focus on building relationships and helping others rather than generating job opportunities. If you focus on the people and building relationships, the opportunities to collaborate with bloggers and brands will naturally follow.
Everyone Is Valuable
I will be the first to admit that going into a blog conference, especially a big one, can be very intimidating and overwhelming. Just remember that others are feeling the same way. And everyone, no matter how big or small their blog or brand is, is a person. And every person is valuable. So treat them with kindness. I love the quote "have courage and be kind" from Cinderella so much that I have a free printable for it you can snag HERE if you want the reminder. Also, remember that the blogging world is small. Someone might have a small blog today, but tomorrow they might work for an awesome company that you want to work with! So always be kind.
Did you talk to a blogger about collaborating on a project, follow up! Did you promise a brand you would send them information on something that might be a good fit for their company, sent it to them! Don't wait too long after a conference to follow up with people and brands. And remember to always be kind when doing so. Remind the person where you met and that you wanted to get back to them with the information you discussed.
Building relationships is 100% where it is at when you are trying to grow your business so make that your top priority and you will find success with whatever you do!
All data referenced in this post was provided by the LISTERINE® Brand Survey. To learn more, please go to www.listerine.com/health-mouth-vs-unhealthy-mouth.com
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