How to Make the Most of Attending Events
Whether you love them or hate them, events are a great way to make new connections and grow your CAM business. It feels like this is the season of events right now! Last month was my practitioner conference, I delivered a workshop at the National Institute of Medical Herbalists conference last weekend and I’m starting to prepare to attend the YouPreneur Summit in London next month.
It’s the third year of the YouPreneur Summit and my third visit. It totally appeals to my nerdy marketing side and I get to meet incredible entrepreneurs and geek out on all things marketing and business. Whilst I love learning and always come away buzzing with new ideas, they can be tiring.
I’m a bit of an introvert at heart and I find big events can be overwhelming unless I’m organised. If you’re more of an extrovert, you’re more likely to find the whole experience energising and love the buzz created. Whichever your tendency, make the most of the next event you attend by preparing in advance. Here are my 8 tips to make the most of an event.
Book the date in your calendar and work out the logistics of getting there. Plan out your journey so there are no last-minute surprises to sabotage your arrival. Know the details down to the routes, station exits, available parking and any planned disruptions.
This year, YouPreneur will be happening over the Remembrance weekend so Westminster in London will be closed off. This happened the first year too and the organisers were amazing at letting people know the alternative routes, but your organiser may not be quite so aware of potential issues.
Pack what you need because although many events provide paper and pens, you can’t rely on them. Take your own notepad, pens, laptop, water, snacks and anything else you think you may want during the day. Make sure your phone is charged so you can take photos and share on social media throughout the event.
Be well rested and arrive early enough so you don’t feel rushed and have time to get your bearings. If like me, you’re more of an introvert, being early gives you time for a quiet coffee before the rush. Make sure you have some time out through the day to recharge such as escaping for a little walk at lunchtime. If you’re more of an extrovert, go for it – network your socks off and have fun. There is no right or wrong way, it just needs to be right for you.
Dress to impress yourself
Work out what you will be wearing in advance and pick something that makes you feel good. Test out your outfit ahead of time to make sure it fits and is comfortable as there could be a lot of standing and sitting around. Ensure you have some different layers and a scarf as you never know how hot or cold the venue will be.
I’m a bit of a brand nerd and tend to wear something in my brand colours. I find it helps people to recognise me from my social media profile photos so have a think about that when you’re selecting your outfit.
Know why you are attending the event
Have a goal for what you want to achieve from attending the event. You will make better use of your time and investment if you know why you are going rather than just seeing what happens. Decide ahead of time what you want to learn and who do you want to meet so you have a plan of action.
Know your simple story
Have your marketing message ready so you can share it with anyone asking what you do. The simple question of ‘what do you do?’ can tie you up in knots and you can find yourself confusing the listener. Here’s how you can write your simple message.
Connect with people ahead of the event
Find out if any friends or colleagues are going along as it will be fun to have someone you know to chat to and compare notes with after the event.
Social media is brilliant for this and many events will have their own pages, groups and hashtags. See who else is attending and get to know a few people in advance. This will help you to identify anyone you want to connect with as a potential collaborator or supplier.
Follow and connect with any speakers you want to meet so they will get to know you in advance. It will help you stand out from the other delegates as someone thoughtful if you’ve been commenting and sharing their information.
Be aware of your posture and make sure you are standing tall and looking confident. Even if you don’t feel it at first, your posture is constantly communicating to your brain as well as to others. If you need a 2-minute confidence boost, check out Amy Cuddy’s Wonder Woman pose, it’s a great way to boost your confidence quickly.
Keep it simple, a big smile and saying hello goes a long way to start a conversation. If you’re not big on making small talk, use it as an opportunity to listen to others.
Attending an event is a marketing opportunity for you
Sharing information about the event you are attending will put you on the radar of the hosts and help you raise your profile. Create content (articles, videos, podcasts, social media posts) about the event for your clients by finding an angle that will be interesting and useful for them. It will help you demonstrate your commitment to keeping developing yourself to provide them with the best service.
Before the event you can talk about why you are going and what you want to learn there. After you can reflect on the event by sharing your biggest takeaways and any fun stories.
Whatever content you produce, make sure you share it everywhere as this will help it to get seen by more people. This will help to raise your profile and help you to build an audience for your practice.
Once the event is over, make sure you book time in your diary to follow up with the people you met at the event. It’s best to do this within a few days so people remember who you are. I’ve been lucky to meet some amazing people at events, made new friends, met new clients and found new suppliers.
With today’s online environment, it is good to actually get out and meet new people. There are so many new and different opportunities available from making personal connections and a great way to do this is by attending events.
If you struggle to make the most from events you attend, contact me for a chat to find out how I can help you.