Making an Unforgettable Impression at a Conference
At any conference, you can make between 30-100 first impressions in a day. Let’s make them good ones.
Conferences can do a lot for your career. We shouldn’t have to sell you on the value of networking. These events are amazing, low-cost ways to promote your company and promote yourself. They’re also how you make industry contacts that will come in very handy some day.
If you’re about to attend your first conference, or just looking to brush up your game, here are some tips to make an unforgettable first impression.
Know Why You’re Attending
Keep your goals in mind at all times. You’re there to make contacts, not make sales. So don’t bog down the conversation with too much of a sales pitch. You want to come across as authentic.
Also, remember the theme of the event. This way you can always keep yourself relevant and engaged.
Know How to Dress
Comfort should trump flash for both sexes. Both men and women need to avoid wearing brand new shoes for the event. There is far too much standing and walking to punish your feet in such a way.
Women should stay professional, without being too drab.” According to Forbes.com. “Accessories include aviator sunglasses, gold hoop earrings and a complimentary minimalist, carved ring, as well as a studded, gray, multi-strap, hobo bag for ease of movement throughout each day, and stylish designer moto rubber rain booties.”
Men should stay professional. However, that may not require a tie. “Not every industry is a suit-and-tie industry,” said Real Men Style.
“Trying to look like a top exec when you’re a skilled programmer is likely to cause people looking for programmers to pass you by — thinking that you’re a hiring manager rather than a worker.”
Know How to Socialize:
Again, don’t kill conversation with too much about you. Perfect your attentive listening skills. Listening can be hard with so much going on. But doing it right drives your success.
“You create a great first impression when the person you are meeting feels listened to and is made to feel that he or she has a captive and interested audience,” wrote Peter Economy, The Leadership Guy.
“Lean into the conversation–body language again–to communicate that you are really listening and interested.”
Also, get good at drawing your business cards, without fumbling. Also, make it a point to look at each as you receive them. Of course, always smile and thank you.
Know the Social (media) Graces
If your business card doesn’t have social accounts, like your Twitter handle, find time to fix that.
Be prepared to follow (and get follows from) every socially active person you meet that the conference.
Know How to Stay Professional
Don’t step outside the lines of professionalism, even if other people are.
It can be easy to get a bit too comfortable. It’s a social event, you’re out of the office, and there is likely a bar. But keep things casual, but under control. People always remember the person who gets “too comfortable.”
It should also go without saying that flirting with, or hitting on, anyone at the conference is an absolute NO. No exceptions. Just don’t.
Know How to Follow up
Take your pile of business cards, and find the time to follow up with everyone you met via email, LinkedIn or Twitter.
If anyone added you to their social account on the spot, don’t be afraid to send them a direct message saying it was great to meet them.
BUT DO NOT treat these cards like an automatic opt-in for your company’s newsletter or e-blasts. Spamming your new contacts right away can ruin a future relationship.
Know How to Make an Entrance and an Exit
Act like the person you want to be. So consider using a car service to show up at the front doors looking like the prepared professional you want to convey.
Do the same for your exit. There is no need to stand outside and try to wave down cabs. You can also score some points with new associates by offering a ride in your town car.
We are the best-rated limo service company in Chicago, and for good reason. We have the most competitive rates, high-quality cars and professional drivers to serve you.
Contact us by calling (877) 444-1205, or click here to get in touch with us to start planning.