Please excuse any formatting randomness; this post is brought to you by the WordPress iOS app.
Whether you are attending a general social mixer, networking event, or a conference, these are five things you must bring along for a great experience:
1. Business Cards- Always have a way for others to follow up and contact you. Even if you have a brand new startup or are unemployed, get some cards made before the big event.
2. Your Smartphone- If you want to get others’ contact info into your phone right away (or make a reminder to follow up with a new connection), remember to bring a fully-charged phone with you. If you are at a conference, you also beed your phone if you want to partake in the event hashtag via social media.
3. A Strong Pitch- Have a strong pitch practiced and ready so it will be a breeze introducing yourself to others. Boil the pitch down to around 30-45 seconds. My pitch usually includes my name, my title and my company, and an explanation of what my company TAOpivot does.
4. Suitable Bag/Tote- Always good to have something to carry all the cards, brochures, etc. you may get at an event. I always make sure to have a spacious bag in case there’s schwag handed out; frees up my hands!
5. An Open Mind- You might talk with a few people who have differing views than you do on current events, the economy, etc. Don’t get into an argument with others! That’s embarrassing for you and may soil the whole experience. Listen to others and take what you will from their words and your interactions. If you feel the connection isn’t a good fit, then leave it at that. No follow-up is needed.
Of course, none of the above is required (well, besides the open mind!), but I have found that having all these things handy has helped me maximize my success at networking events and conferences. Hope these help you, too.