UnravelCon 2016 was a smash hit! Marketers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and students alike all came…
So you’re all signed up for UnravelCon digital marketing conference and looking to make the most of it. Sure, it’s a given that you’re going to leave with a brain full of strategies and techniques for online marketing. But there’s another aspect to the conference that may be just as important – all that juicy networking. It’s time to come up with a game plan.
Connecting businesses and business owners is an integral part of what UnravelCon is all about. You put that many marketers in the same room, and conversation is bound to flow. But making valuable business connections, which is at the core of UnravelCon’s design, takes some thought and preparation. So you can get the most for your UnravelCon dollar, we’ve put together a few networking tips for you.
1. Know what you want.
Have an idea of what you want to get out of the conference. Are you looking for another small business owner to partner with on an event? A specialist to whom you can make referrals? Freelancer recommendations? Whatever you need to help your business bloom, define it, and seek out conversations that might lead you in that direction. Ask people you meet if they know anyone that fits your needs, and if they can introduce you.
2. Put yourself out there.
When you walk into a room, look for someone sitting alone, and ask if they mind if you join them. This is an opportunity to connect on a personal level. You never know if some small talk might lead to a valuable relationship. Ask about:
- Their business or interests. Point out similarities in your experiences.
- Their current business challenges, and how you might be able to help.
- Something they hope to learn, or have learned from UnravelCon
We know these conversations aren’t easy for some people (we’re looking at you, introverts!), but business relationships just don’t happen if you sit by yourself in the back row, looking at your phone. These “10 Feel-Good Questions” from internationally known author and speaker Bob Burg are also some great networking conversation starters.
3. Bring plenty of business cards.
Sure, most people keep their contacts in their phones, or some other digital format, but at a conference it’s helpful to have cards on hand to help remind other people about your conversation. Make sure your card represents your brand (business or personal) in a professional way. After you receive someone else’s card, make a note on the back about what you talked about, or any next steps you discussed.
4. Practice your “elevator speech.”
“So what do you do?” Invariably, that’s one of the first questions you’ll get when you meet someone new at a conference. But they don’t need (or want) your life story or full career path – an effective introduction lasts about 30 seconds, or the duration of a ride in an elevator. Practice in front of a mirror or in the car so it sounds smooth and polished, but not robotic. Offer basic information, such as:
- your current role (or a role you’re looking to move into)
- the business audience you serve, or who would most benefit from what you offer
- highlights of your work responsibilities
- a next-step goal for your business
- what you hope to get out of the conference
5. Work your network.
During the conference, create a list of Action Steps that you want to pursue after the conference. Reference people you met and topics you discussed, then follow up with those contacts over coffee to continue building those relationships. Make introductions between complementary business professionals, who might benefit from an alliance.
Make a connection
At Unravel, we love helping foster connections between our clients, which often lead to win-win partnerships. With these tips, we hope you’ll find some guidance and encouragement to bolster your networking confidence and make some connections of your own.
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What are some of your favorite networking tips and techniques? Share your ideas with a comment below!