Here's the thing: attending conferences and networking events can be very intimidating, especially if you're a first-timer. But, that's totally normal!
I know from personal experience that these things can be a little anxiety-inducing. I mean, often times you don't know anyone and (let's face it), "selling" yourself to brands, companies, and even individuals with similar interests can be quite nervewracking.
"Pressure is a privilege."
As Serena Williams often quotes fellow-tennis champion Billie Jean King, "Pressure is a privilege." And it really is so true. Whether you are the most extroverted or the most introverted person in the world, there is one thing that will help to alleviate some of that pressure: preparation.
Here are 6 surefire ways to make sure you stand out at the next conference or networking event you attend:
1. Bring business cards
This is something I definitely learned the hard way, so please save yourself! The awkward "I actually forgot mine" excuse doesn't really hold up when someone asks you to give them your business card. If there is one thing you take from this post, let it be this: always go to conferences and networking events with a stack of business cards. Even if you don't use them, the small price to make them is far less costly than the embarrassment of realizing you are totally unprepared.
At a previous conference I attended, we were given the advice to not throw our cards around. While it's important to have business cards, you do not have to give one to every single person you meet. It's more valuable to begin developing a relationship than it is to simply hand out your card to everyone. Create relationships with people and give those you genuinely form a connection with your card. This lets them know you want to stay in touch.
2. Prepare a 60-second elevator pitch
At the most recent conference I attended, I was actually able to sit down with a professional from .Me to create my perfect 60-second elevator pitch. The idea here is to practice telling someone all about you and "sell" yourself in just 1-minute. Not sure where to start? Try using these tips from Forbes (note: the same steps can be applied when forming a pitch for talking to brands or individuals with whom you hope to collaborate).
3. Know what makes you "you"
Ask yourself: How are you different from others in your field? How does your background or experiences make you special? Answer these questions and any other "stand out" ones, flaunt those differences, and show them why you are the best at what you do.
Read the full post here.