Connecting with others is one of the primary reasons most of us attend events. We use events to meet like-minded people and as an opportunity to connect with people who are likely to become part of our customer base, or who can potentially enhance our business in other ways.
Though technology is now integrated into most aspects of business and networking, the human element should not be underrated, because in the end, events are about people meeting people.
And whether you manage an event, have an exhibit booth, or are an attendee, there are some key networking skills that we sometimes forget in this technology-driven world.
• It’s better to give than receive.
When you meet someone, it’s important to find out how you can help them rather than thinking in terms of what they can do for you. This fits well with the basis of good business, which is all about providing useful services or products that make someone’s life or business better.
• Ask questions about the other person.
Having some good questions in your mind not only lets you drive the conversation and improve your networking, it can help you avoid those moments of painful small talk.
• Don’t underestimate anyone.
You never know who someone might know, so even if they don’t appear to be someone who can enhance your business, they might know someone who can. Be helpful to everyone you can. Ultimately, this will only enhance how people perceive you and your brand.
Making Event Connections – Helpful Tips and Apps
Since making better connections is one of the primary goals at events, it makes sense that there would be numerous applications designed to help you do just that. Here are a few tips for making better connections and some helpful apps that you can use, whether you’re making a connection face to face, or via technology.
1. Know ahead of time who you are interested in personally connecting with. This means you need to do your pre-event homework. Join in the before-event social media and hashtag (#) conversations on platforms such as Facebook Groups and Twitter. Keep an eye on who is going to attend or speak at the event, and then start collecting a list of people you’d like to meet. To keep track of your list, there are plenty of apps to choose from. Here are a couple of suggestions:
Evernote: this is available for almost every platform and device, and it syncs so you can start your list at home on your computer and still have it with you at the event on your phone. And the capabilities of Evernote go way beyond listing.
Awesome Note: another versatile app for creating a checklist and other items that can be synced.
2. When you connect with someone, always ask them for their contact information so you don’t have to rely on them getting in touch with you. If you connect with someone who uses business cards, there are countless apps for recording that information. Here are two to take a look at:
WorldCard Mobile: This business card reader and scanner app is recommended by the Wall Street Journal.
ScanBizCards: A business card app scanner with cloud storage.
3. One key element when you’re working to make connections and are meeting a lot of people in a short period of time is to know just how you want to introduce yourself in as few words as possible. Many people refer to this as the elevator pitch, and introduction pitches today can be in person, or online.
WowPitch: If you’re struggling with creating a short intro, or elevator pitch, there are apps that can help you. WowPitch helps you create a 30-second pitch so you’ll know exactly what to say when someone says, “what do you do?”
A couple of things that you might want to include in your pitch are the problem your product or service solves and how your service or product is the solution. Don’t go into the mechanics of how it solves the problem, because your goal is to try and be as concise as possible. And even though you may be working up some of your key phrases ahead of time, it’s important not to come off as rehearsed. A great way to avoid appearing this way is to ask the person you just met a question first and then tie your pitch into what they said. (Note, if you’re doing a lot of pre-event networking via social media here’s a Forbes article on Social Media Pitching).
Using apps to make connecting easier, and to keep track of those connections, is a great way to boost your event networking experience at any event.
Looking for more apps to optimize your event experience? Check out our article Before the Big Event – App it UP!