I recently attended my very first blogging conference and I had an amazing time meeting many wonderful people in the community! I must admit that I was a bit nervous since it was my first big event and but I am so glad I went. I learned so much information and it was great connecting with others. I decided to dedicate this post to discuss what I learned about networking and I am also featuring this outfit that I wore to the conference!
1. Research the event ahead of time.
It’s so important to know where you’re going, who the key guests are, and what the event is focused on. Yes, it may sound obvious but if you’re not familiar with the location then make sure you look up how to get there beforehand and give yourself extra time in case you get lost or need to find parking. Before I attended the conference, I looked at the agenda so I would know who the featured guests were and had a general idea of their background. I also looked at photos from last year’s conference to get an idea of how I should dress and what kind of vibe the event had. The more I research beforehand, the more I had a better idea of what to expect and prepare for.
2. Make sure you carry your business cards with you.
I decided to order business cards because I knew this was going to be a big event with over 100 people. I met many people and gave my business card out so they would have all of my contact information to make it easy for them to connect with me in the future. I was actually surprised by the number of people who didn’t bring business cards. I’m the type of person who remembers faces but it’s hard for me to remember names and retain a load of information at once. Having business cards shows that you’re professional and more importantly, it makes you memorable and easier to contact. I made sure to include my picture on my business cards so others can link my face to my name.
3. Come prepared with questions and topics to talk about.
Whether you’re attending a small round table meeting or a large event, it’s important to participate and engage with others. After all, that is the whole point of networking! If you’re more of an introvert at these types of events like I am, then make sure you come up with things to discuss beforehand so there aren’t any awkward moments of silence when you have the opportunity to speak. If you can’t come up with any questions, then there are other ways to engage in the conversation. You can summarize what the other person said to show that you’re listening, or it can also be a way to ask for clarification. Another way to engage yourself is to follow up on what someone said by stating your opinion or how you can relate to what they’re saying. There are many ways you can be more engaged. Just be yourself and let the conversation flow. 🙂
4. Don’t be afraid to approach someone and ask them about their experiences.
I admit that I’m usually not the type of person who will approach someone first because I get too nervous. However, this is something that I am trying to work on. I have to remind myself that there is nothing harmful about going up to someone and talking to them, especially if you’re at a networking event. I met some people that told me that they are also afraid to approach others, so please know that you’re definitely not alone! I was able to strike up some great conversations and we exchanged stories about our blogging journey. I actually learned new things from fellow bloggers that I hadn’t already known. You just never know who you will meet and what new things you will learn!
5. Ask for other people’s business cards and reach out to them after the event.
As I had already mentioned, it is so important to carry your business cards with you so that you can exchange them with others. If you told someone that you’re going to contact them, then make sure you follow up with them and stay true to your word. It is also important that you contact them in a timely manner. Waiting a couple weeks probably isn’t the best idea because you want people to remember you. The day after the conference, I contacted people that I met and let them know how great it was to meet them. Not only is it great for people to remember you, but it’s nice to let them know that you remember them. People really appreciate these kind gestures and it’s a great way to make yourself stand out.
I am so happy that I attended this networking event because I learned so much valuable information and it really helped me come out of my shell. Please let me know if there are any networking tips that you would like to add!
Dress: ASOS (comes in tall and petite)
Booties: old (similar here and here)