Making people connections and networking is a common-thread among industries across the board and an important aspect of any marketing regime no matter where you or your business is located in the world.

Particularly with email marketing, growing your contacts lists is pivotal on building upon relationships of trust. And yet, it often holds a place of some anxiety for most, as getting out there, speaking up and making connections with others may sometimes be unnerving.

However, rest assured that this little 4-STEP GUIDE will give you the very tools to focus on to be able to tackle smart mingling. The four segments below lay out the basic tricks to effectively push past your comfort zone and ease into mixers and conferences with confidence and purpose.  

Step 1: Pinpoint the Right Mixer or Event

Mixers, events or conferences draw people together from various parts within your industry, as well as from other parts of the world, and thus, create a stimulating melting pot of sorts to brand your business. Attendees are eager to meet and make those connections and you need to be prepared for success.

The first step is to research what ongoings are scheduled in the near future that sound interesting to you. Some regional events may be well suited for your business in terms of attracting new locals. Other more distant events may also be worth targeting based on your desired reach and ideal targeted marketing scope.

Study what crowds will be in attendance, what vendors are scheduled to attend, the size of the event, in order to get a better assessment of how you will benefit from your participation.

If an event is scheduled to be too large and many of your competitors will be in attendance, you might opt out of participating if you feel underprepared to market your business in an adjacent lot. On the flipside, you might still want to attend, but in the hat of an attendee not vendor, to study your competition under the radar, to see how they present and pitch.

Also, maybe if an event is too far or if the cost of transportation and accommodations outweighs the benefits of actually attending said conference, you may decide to hold off until the next event maybe. The important point here is that only you can do the research and a full work up of the cost utility analysis of which particular events may be worth attending.

Step 2: Do Your Homework & Prepare

Just like the familiar doctrine, back-to-school night, the same concept applies to your regimen the night before your scheduled event.

The Nuts & Bolts:

The night before any event, make sure to review and pack all the supplies you will be needing for your mixer, conference or trade show. Most will need basic transactional materials including paper, pen and business cards, so have these little gadgets handy to jot down potential client contact information and to share your own.

But think beyond this, as preparation is in the details. If you are to make a formal presentation, those materials are important for you to display in an appealing fashion, make portable and easy to understand. Goodies and giveaways that brand your business are always a draw for attendees to your table.

Lists to collect email addresses of attendees are super important for reaching back out and nurturing those relationships, and you may also wish to consider having a raffle giveaway in exchange for a shared business card.

The Pitch:

To lay the ground work, get prepared to talk about some common themes or problems that you share, as a segue to introducing how your product or service maybe useful. Understand and dissect your target audience at hand and speak directly to them, with a well developed lead in and pitch, not a generic cliché one liner that they can see right through and glaze over.

Sometimes, it can be as easy as simply starting a conversation…

Step 3: Make an Impression

Without doubt, your appearance matters when you are meeting attendees for the first time and the way you speak and carry yourself will reflect on your business, as well. Optimize your chance of success by being approachable, relatable and exciting- leave an impression that really lasts and to which you can springboard into a valuable connection upon leaving the event.

It goes without saying you should dress to impress and absolutely dress the part of your business. Groom well and the confidence will ooze right out of you.

But it’s much, much, much more than looks alone. Attitude is key – stay confident and interesting. Don’t just speak over attendees or onlookers, but try to stand back and engage your audience by listening to their real needs. Try to listen to common concerns and think of ways you really may be able to address some of these issues. There is no substitute for true meaningful conversation that leaves a real impression!

Step 4: Pickup and Pursue

One of the most overlooked steps to effective event attendance is the reaching out & following up steps you take after the event has wrapped. Your mission during the event or conference is to make genuine unique connections with people that you can follow up on. Thus, it is vital to make qualified connections during your first encounter and then to pursue those referrals.

A beautiful trick to practice is the jotting down of a few minor details that you picked up on during your conversation with the attendee. They may have mentioned some problem areas they were seeking to improve, or new features they were looking to explore, or maybe you two shared a joke or a mutual friend- whatever details that jog your memory when you go to reach out to them- to help you break the ice and begin conversation- are going to serve you well.

Your follow up style will depend on and be unique to the situation, but the modes are as various and there are many… from direct meetings by appointment, to unassuming phone calls, to emails or personal mail or even social media avenues- if that’s what they indicted they preferred.

One method may be more preferred or appropriate than the next, so ascertain which channel works best given your particulars.

Hope you found this little 4-STEP GUIDE helpful. Good luck at your next upxoming event or mixer…