Although we have all this amazing technology to conduct online presentations, meetings, and webinars there is much to be desired. The online options give us a lot of flexibility. We aren’t wasting our time and money to go out to hold these discussions.
What it does lack is a certain feeling of personality.
When we are sitting behind the screens we can’t connect as we would being face-to-face, shaking hands, and being in good company. The physical interaction is just as important as mental stimulation when building relationships.
How does one go about building better relationships?
The best way to do so is by attending conferences in your industry so you can truly meet the movers and shakers of the business.
Here are a few tips on getting the most when you attend these conferences (in hopes of building better business relationships):
A. Build a habit of remembering names
Have you ever bumped into someone you’ve previously met but stumbled when it came to remembering their name (yet they remembered yours)? You’re nervous and now stressed (maybe even a little ashamed).
There’s a good trick to remember names and it’s really just about repetition.
When you meet an individual and exchange cards go ahead and read their card aloud (while making a compliment). Further down the conversation continue to use this person’s name or whenever you have the opportunity when introducing them to another. Instead of saying usual good-bye make sure you’re telling that person good-bye to ensure it sticks.
Remembering names shows that you took the time to listen and identify.
B. Roll with the times
Business cards, maps, directories, and all the jazz worked great for conferences in the 90’s and 2000’s but we’re in the age of smart phones and apps.
Convention apps are where it’s at these days. These apps can tell you the timing of speakers, locations of the booths, interesting facts, profiles of people, and so much more.
Couple this with business card apps so you don’t go around losing them (and having the ability to tag and take notes about people) and you’ll be creating connections in the 21st century.
Use that technology to your advantage so you can spend more time with the people than mindlessly wandering the convention floor trying to figure what’s going on.
C. Bring something to the table (besides a conversation)
Everyone can talk the talk and walk the walk but what really turns heads is when you have something to actually show.
- A prototype
- A downloadable
- A print out
- An application
- An experience
Conversations can take you places but much of it is just entertaining ideas and trying to get a brand out there. If you want to turn heads you need to bring something to the table. Get them talking by showing what you actually have (and not just through buzzwords and sales pitches). Let them get hands-on.
Don’t worry about perfection because the people you want to work with will see your vision of the product or service – those are the real go-getters worth working with.
D. Have some fun
Sure it may be a convention for your industry (or one you’re researching) but it doesn’t have to just be about the business end of things.
I can bet you that there are more deals going on behind-the-scenes at after parties and smaller get-togethers than on the show-room floor. It’s because people are loosened up and can let down their professional guard; they’re relaxed and ready to truly listen.
Have fun on the floor and during the presentations but get into those smaller groups where you run into the people that are like-minded and hungry for real action (rather than the others that may be there just to hear what they’ve wanted to be verified).
Be the cool one people want to hang out with. Start up a small group of your own. Go out partying with them and relax. Business can start on Monday but deals can still certainly go down on a wild Saturday.
There are plenty of other strategies you can do to create connections at conferences and I’m sure you’ve already heard of them. Take the ones you’ve read in here and give them a shot.
Try to do a bit of testing while you’re at it. Go to one conference with a specific goal and then do the opposite at another. See what it gets you. Maximize your return when having these face-to-face get-togethers and meetings.
Your turn. What ways do you build better connections when you’re out there at conventions?