Networking is not collecting contacts; networking is about planting relations. On this episode of Rhodes to Success, I interview Mike Bruny who is a speaker, author, certified life coach, and an alum of the Boston-based Leaders of Color Development Program Inc. Mike believes we are all ambassadors and stand for ‘something,’ so he is on a mission for individuals to discover and live their ‘something.’ Mike’s runs The New Art of Conference Networking, which helps conference organizers create the kind of environment that fosters people to make great connections. If you want to know how to make meaningful connections at your next conference or event, then this podcast has some awesome tips for you.
Main Questions Asked:
- How did you come up with the idea of becoming a networking ambassador and helping people make connections at conferences?
- What is the ‘pivot’?
- Talk about how to deal with collecting business cards at a conference.
- Should we be strategic in who we take a business card from?
- What are your tips of the best kind of business card to have and what information to include?
- What are the ways people can be memorable at conferences?
- Where do you recommend people fall in the spectrum of how to dress for conferences?
- Share your tips for entrepreneurs who are running their own events and what they should do for networking and relationship building.
- What do you think about setting up a group for people who will be attending a specific conference?
Key Lessons Learned:
- If you put in the work before you go to the conference there is a greater chance that you will connect with people.
Alone At the Conference
- When you are at a conference and you aren’t taking to anyone, don’t panic. Be happy to have a moment to yourself.
- When you look confident and make eye contact, people will approach you.
- If you are alone and focused on your phone or laptop, people will avoid you as they will think you don’t want to talk or be interrupted.
- When you are at a conference and find yourself in a conversation clique, make sure to keep your eyes open for people who also want to join the conversation.
- The way to let people into a conversation clique is to let them know there is an open space for them to join the conversation.
- If you are on the outside and are looking to insert yourself into an existing conversation, take in what is going on and look for an opportunity to make a point to add to the conversation.
- Having an idea of your personal goals at the conference makes collecting business cards a different process.
- Before you decide to ask for a card, get a good idea about the person, what they are working on, what’s their biggest challenge, and if can you be of assistance to them.
- Ideally the best strategy is to take other people’s cards because it gives you the power to take action and contact the other person.
- When you get a card, make sure to write a note on it to remind you of who the person is and why you want to stay connected.
- Receiving a business card is also an opportunity to think of whom within your network you can help other than yourself.
Tips For Your Business Card
- Mike says stay away from glossy business cards as they are difficult to write on.
- Use high-quality heavy stock and use a professional printing service.
- Having a photo on your card is great for after the event, as the person receiving it will have a better chance of remembering who you are.
Dressing for Conferences
- Dress for your comfort level as well as what you are going after.
- Women have the advantage when it comes to accessorizing as our eyes are drawn to the color contrasts.
- For men, you can have a strong pocket square game and forgo the tie.
How to Handle Networking At Your Own Event or Conference
- Get information on the people who will attend your event and find out what they want to get out of it.
- Ask attendees who they would most like to connect with.
- It used to be that attendees wanted to connect with people in their physical geographic location, but now people prefer to connect with others in the same industry.
The music in today’s episode was written by The Danger Os and produced by Nick Palmer. Check them out at https://www.facebook.com/thedangerosmakemusic
Links to Resources Mentioned
Click to Tweet