Are you prepared for several days of real face to face communications? Today many of us expand our professional and personal networks through Facebook and LinkedIn and frankly, we’ve gotten rusty at our conversational skills. At the upcoming WBENC National Conference we will all have about 4,000 opportunities to interact personally with strangers – strangers who can become clients or valuable service providers. So how can you prepare?
Do Your Homework
Before you head to Las Vegas, research as much as you can to determine your opportunities. Well in advance visit http://conf.wbenc.org, to find an enormous amount of information to help you create a plan for success.
- Identify prospects who would be a good fit for what your company offers; read about them and plan to visit their booths with prepared questions.
- Map out social sessions where you can begin networking.
- Determine workshops that may provide you with opportunities to meet someone new and to learn.
And when you get there:
- Reach out to people who you think may be attending and introduce or re-introduce yourself.
- Open your conference bag, dig in and look for opportunities! Like the one at Booth 1017, where NEI Global Relocation will give away two 12.9” iPad Pro and Apple Pencils!
Practice before you go
If your face-to-face networking skills need some work, brush up by going to your local Regional Partner Organization’s meetings and social gatherings. You’ll be surprised at how these interactions can provide good practice opportunities to improve your confidence with meeting new people and starting conversations.
- Plan your wardrobe for each day based on the various events you will attend. Dress to make a positive and professional impression.
- Body language speaks volumes. Convey a strong message by sitting up straight, maintaining eye contact, smiling and being enthusiastic!
- Hone your “elevator speech” to provide a clear, brief message about who you are and what you do—keeping that first introduction to about 30 seconds.
- Engage the people you meet with open-ended questions— to avoid simple yes or no answers. Ask about their industry, their company, what they do, where they are located, etc.
- Actively listen to what they say and give them your full attention. As much as possible, let them do the talking. Nothing is more engaging than a good listener.
- When exiting a conversation, find someone to introduce them to before making your exit and close with a show of appreciation, such as “I really enjoyed talking with you” or “I’m taking up way too much of your time. I’ll let you get back to mingling with others.”
Be sure to also renew old acquaintances. Good networking is as much about maintaining past relationships as it is about making new ones!
1:1 Match Maker Meetings
Match Maker meetings are unique business opportunities and preparation is key to success. When you are notified that you have been “matched”, find out all that you can about the company and identify what needs they have that you can fill.
Time for each meeting is limited so you will need to balance asking questions and demonstrating your company’s capabilities. This is a wonderful opportunity to make a great first impression and establish yourself and your company as experienced with what they need in a potential partnership
Also, it’s helpful to think about what you can do or provide, that will help you stand out, brand your company, and be remembered. At NEI we find that a small bag of our signature candy does the trick!
Be Strategic with Your Schedule
Each event that you are planning to attend should have a purpose. Will a workshop give you the opportunity to engage with a presenter you want to meet? Will the topic provide you with information you want to know to approach the presenter? Perhaps the session will attract individuals who may also be interested in what your company offers. If that is the case, be sure to arrive early to network with those around you.
Know yourself and be yourself. If you need a few short breaks to rejuvenate, don’t hesitate to take them. If you get recharged by more interactions, fill up your schedule. Recognize that whether you are an introvert or an extrovert the conference can be a unique growth opportunity that is both productive and fun.
Preparing in advance is the best advice we can provide. Know what is going to occur at the event so you can maximize your exposure. Building familiarity with the numerous opportunities and having a strategic plan in place will help you make the most of your experience and hopefully provide you with the biggest return on your investment. We look forward to meeting each of you in Las Vegas!
NEI Global Relocation (NEI) is a full-service relocation and international assignment management company that partners with its clients to deliver the services required to transition relocating employees from one location to another--worldwide.
However, it’s not what services are provided, but how they are provided that sets NEI apart.
NEI is one of very few relocation management companies in the industry that is a Nationally Certified Women’s Business Enterprise. Last year, NEI’s total first tier diversity spend for all clients was $703,000,000!
Known for its best-in-class service, financial stability, focus on accuracy and fiscal responsibility, technological support, ethical standards of excellence, and independence from formal supplier affiliations, NEI is consistently recognized for delivering on its mission of providing Service Exceeding Expectations to its 183 clients, of which 22 are Fortune 500 and 37 are Fortune 1,000. Over the last year NEI assisted more than 16,000 families who relocated for work related purposes.
Established in 1985, NEI headquarters is located in Omaha, Nebraska with regional global offices in Geneva, Switzerland and Singapore.