Laura Schwartz, a former director of events at the White House and author of Eat, Drink & Succeed! Climb Your Way to the Top Using the Networking Power of Social Events, shares stories and useful tips for anyone preparing to attend the Conference—or any social event, for that matter. Listen to the 30-minute session (or read the transcript) below.
– Big things can happen in the most unexpected places. Gatherings offer an opportunity to share your challenges, search for solutions, and share your successes. You never know who you’re going to meet or what opportunities will arise when you just show up.
– From your closest friends to the PTA – there is power in your social network. Take the time to think about who your connections are, where they’ve been, where they’re going—and you’ll be in a better position to utilize your network.
Tips for Success:
– Going to the Conference alone? That can be intimidating but you can manage by starting the day off right – walk up and meet someone at registration. There are opportunities to make connections everywhere, from the morning keynote session to the exhibit hall.
– Do your research. Check out the Twitter feeds and LinkedIn profiles of speakers and local leaders you know will be at the Conference. Look for commonalities.
– Turn off the tv and read a newspaper; learn something about the place you’re going. Be interesting. Even more important, take stock of yourself before you start meeting others – who am I? Where am I going and why?
– Write up some goals for the Conference – meeting x # of people, asking someone a certain question, practicing your conversation skills (and don’t forget those listening skills!).
– Show up on time, be positive, and don’t forget your business cards! (Of course make sure they’re current and reflect the image you want to project.)
Plus, tips for calming yourself, staying focused, and reading others’ body language to find opportunities to start conversation.