I’m not great at meeting people. I love people. I love the idea of meeting people. But, when it comes right down to it meeting people is hard for me. My palms sweat. I forget words. I feel awkward. Then, after it all, I obsess about each and every conversation and how I responded.
When the Social Events Vice President of Portland Bloggers, a local blogging group that I work on, suggested we have a Speed Networking event I definitely broke out in a sweat thinking about participating in an event where I had to talk to EVERYONE. Boy oh boy, was I sure glad I went though! So many amazing bloggers with great goals, hopes, & dreams. I will be working with some of them in the near future and I can’t wait to bring some of the collaborative efforts to the blog.
The event was held in the gorgeous event space at Cyril’s at Clay Pigeon Winery. Cyril’s provided a wonderful menu of meat and cheese platters. We also got to try some of their amazing Pinot Noir. (Read my past review from a dinner at Cyril’s at Clay Pigeon Winery and check out their cheese club if you are in the Portland area and like cheese!)
The cool part about this type of event, a “speed dating” style event, is that I had plenty of practice meeting people. I got the opportunity to work on my “elevator pitch” and figure out just how I wanted to represent my blog in about 90 seconds. Portland Bloggers’ provided a great tool for the bloggers at the event to work out a quick pitch about their blog that they could use at the event. It is now yours to download for free! Use it to craft your own Brand Statement and elevator pitch.
1. Be Prepared. Bring your business cards to parties, meet-ups, the grocery store… you never know when you are going to need them! Need a quick, cute design for your cards? Download this free file and get printed though your favorite business card printer. Moo.com helped to sponsor this event and provided attendees with a discount. I received my Moo cards recently and they were a great quality! I get compliments on them constantly. Business cards are a great prop for talking about your business.
2. Practice talking about your brand. This is going to feel weird…. but, you should practice talking about your brand to a mirror, friend, or loved one. Practice talking about why your brand is different than others. Practice talking about your brands in different ways.
3. Ask Questions. Yes, you need to talk about YOU when you are presenting your brand. But, if you ONLY talk about you then you and your brand will either be forgotten or thought of negatively. Ask questions about the person with whom you are talking.
4. Find common ground. While asking questions work on finding a common ground. You blog about fashion and the person you are talking to blogs about their kiddo? Chat about blogging platforms, photo taking, etc. You can find common ground with most bloggers out there… work on it. Give them something useful or interesting to help remember you!
5. Gather Contacts & Reach Out After the Event. While you are working hard on promoting your brand go ahead and keep the business cards you’ve been handed. Write notes on them if necessary. Then email, Tweet, Facebook, or Instagram with your new friend! Well, they aren’t your friend quite yet… but, they could be! They could be a friend, collaborator, promotor, or future business partner.