In this episode, we present 7 powerful and uncommon ways to supercharge your networking effectiveness at your next conference, party, retreat, dinner, workshop, bootcamp, or anywhere else you might meet potential business partners or clients. We even brainstorm an experiment neither of us has EVER heard before that could make you more memorable at your next event!
Sources for more information:
- How to Network at a Conference: 10 Ways to Make Contacts Like a Pro https://www.scienceofpeople.com/conference-networking/
- CEO Space International https://ceospaceinternational.com/
Summary of unconventional networking tips:
- Depending on your status at the event, there are reasons to consider not wearing a badge at all. Though in most cases, you’ll want to wear a badge and definitely add a conversation starter and stack badges from previous events behind the current one. Badges from events in which you had VIP status or were a speaker are particularly helpful when stacking.
- For business cards, don’t settle for the free stack of printed business cards that include the company’s call-to-action on them. Instead, invest in some premium business cards from a company like MOO.com and design them in a way that creates a memorable experience for the receiver. In some rare cases, it might be appropriate to avoid handing out business cards altogether, since the most desirable connections are sometimes the people without cards. Though another extreme is to find a reputable metal business card company to give your brand an air of luxury, if appropriate.
- Consider doing an experiment in which you have premium cards printed that are mostly blank. Maybe they have your logo and name on them but nothing else. And you hand out only a few cards to highly-targeted event participants. In the moment, you write “your personal number” or a helpful bit of information exchanged during your conversation. A personal touch like this might create an appealing air of mystery and leave the person feeling like you’re a pro with whom they want to keep in touch.
- If you’ve successfully built rapport with someone and have agreed to connect again at a later date, take out your phone and set something up right away. Even consider exchanging phone numbers right then. And if you can help someone out on the spot with a phone call or some other connection, consider doing so in the moment. Helping someone with a problem will make that person want to keep you as a contact.
- Consider renting a suite and having some food and drinks brought in for an informal 2-hour mastermind for which you personally invite a complementary small group of people to come together and share ideas. Or perhaps you offer a select few people the opportunity to get some food and drinks while you offer a talk on an area of expertise. Get creative and do an informal mini-event like this to invite people you’d like to be connected to but who would also likely benefit from a mastermind, networking, or learning opportunity you can offer.
- Remain aware of cues you might receive that a person is done talking with you. If their body begins to point in another direction or their eyes start to wander, wrap up the conversation. And don’t take such cues personally. Just because someone is done with the chat doesn’t mean the person didn’t enjoy it.
- If you’re the one who is ready to end a conversation, there’s a 3-step process to do so gracefully. First, give a genuine compliment, perhaps about how nice it was to talk or how much you enjoyed hearing their business idea. Second, allude to the conversation’s completion with a statement about hoping you get to see them at the after party or asking for a business card so you can look them up on LinkedIn. Finally, motion for a handshake with a sincere smile and well-wishes, like hoping they enjoy the rest of the day or hope they have safe travels. For a fuller explanation of this technique from its creator, consult the blog post from Vanessa Van Edwards in the sources for more information.