Connecting with people online is fast, easy and fun but nothing compares to getting face to face with people excited about the same things as you.
We just finished CES week here in Vegas. I was able to attend 5 annual events in a few days, met dozens of people that I will follow up with in the next couple of weeks and built relationships with friends and influencers that already have made 2018 plans expand exponentially for business.
Here's a few thoughts that can help you regardless of what events, location or industry you want to network with.
1. Plan to meet beforehand
I remember when thought attending seminar sessions and keynotes was a great opportunitiy.
Education is still a big reason to go to shows like CES but now that I learned the power of networking, I realize the best education can come from a one to one conversation
Before I go to CES, or any major show, I look up speakers, exhibitors and attendees I'd like to meet. I use Nimble.com to expand on any social information and then connect wherever I can.
Anyone with an active online presence has interests beyond the cat pictures and family photos that dominate social. Look for their passions, business or hobbies to comment or share where appropriate. Every blogger likes comments (HINT: I do too :)).
When you see that they are mentioning the event you have in common, you can reply with "see you at..."
If a meeting is important, set it up before hand and send a reminder before the appointment. Personally, I limit fixed time meetings and allow serendipity to work. I don't like to waste an hour getting to a spot when I can meet 3 people at the place I'm at.
2. Allow Serendipity to Happen
Following people who connect and share can be quite rewarding
One night, I went to a bad party because my friend Adryenn Ashley was going to be there. After a long 45 minutes trying to talk while she waited for a friend who never got in, a group of us decided to get dinner at a place I'd never been here in my own city. I met 2 more people and then followed them to an exclusive event I could not get into.
I did get in with the help of another influencer, seeing new technology and meeting 3 founders to follow up with. Followed the group to an empty bar (during CES? Yes. it happened!) where a couple of other people joined us.
I missed two events I had planned but made priceless connections.
And this was the night before CES opened.
3. Plan Something Special
Thanks to my sponsor Frontier Business, I stepped up my influencer outreach with a private dinner for 10 well known influencers that I'm introducing to their program.
Some of these people were already friends. Others were invited specifically for the 2018 outreach and one tagged along and got added to my network.
I'd missed the last two days or CES due to illness, but could not miss seeing friends. (reports later tell me that I didn't infect anyone, thank goodness). There were dozens of social media posts and the group went on to at least two more locations before calling it a night.
4. Share What Happens
This post is one obvious example of how I share what happens. It's not much, but links out to friends, and sharing it on various social media outlets, will strengthen the web of connections I have in this community.
I've left of a lot of information I'd usually add. The names of companies I met, most of the individuals, and even most of the event names. Each of those will get reported elsewhere.
This is where the serendipity really kicks in. You are reading this, and a connection between you and me might be one that changes the world! Do reach out with a comment, a tweet, connection or share. That's where the magic happens.