*Vlog of my time in Greece, including the conference down below.
Not sure what to do with at a conference, and why business cards?
Wherever we go, we are constantly meeting new people. At the shake of a hand, names are forgotten. Business cards are there to save the day. You kindly accept, compliment the card and slip it away into your wallet. Once home, you scratch your head and wonder if you should send the guy an email, but decide against it because you don’t know what to say.
This post will be a basic intro to networking on the fly in four simple steps.
Conferences are amazing places and the Polyglot Conference run by Alex Rawlings and Richard Simcott is no different. This past week I met with dozens of people from all over the world that shared my passion of language learning. Informative lectures were of no shortage.
As important as lectures are, one of the main reasons we even attend conferences in the first place is to find people that are just like us. These people help us realize that we’re not alone.
People who have met me know that I’m constant smiles and meeting people. As a conversationalist, this for me was another day at work. I sat talking and listening to the stories of many. Because we have the same interests, we relate like peas in a pod. We were connecting, but of course, I was genuinely interested in their story. Why else would I listen to them?
1. Be interested in other people.
One of the biggest rules in conversation is to make sure you don’t just talk about yourself all the time. The goal of a conversation is to learn. People are interesting, and they have a ton of things to say and insights you have never considered that will enrich you. I’ve spoken to tons of people, and I still have yet to be bored. Even if I deeply don’t agree with the other side, if you give it some time, your opinion may change!
2. Make and hand out business cards like potatoes.
With 400+ people over a period of 2 conference days, it was simply impossible to meet everyone! So why not give them a gift to remember you by? Whenever they ask for my contact and I take out my cards, the reaction is always, “Wow! So professional!” It leaves a mark in people’s minds and makes them feel special. I know I’m not famous, but I act like it. Not many people will read the cards, but it doesn’t matter. You’re planting seeds.
Why not just give them your phone and add them on Facebook? One, this takes away the charm. Two, if you have a blog or a website, chances are they won’t click on whatever link you have. Three, they won’t have your phone number. If you don’t want them to, then screw it. Do the old fashioned way and just do Facebook.
3. Always take the initiative
Great. You’ve had fun conversation and you gave them a business card (or received one.) Time to sit back and let people be griping for your precious attention? Nope! Your attention giving is still not over.
Two things we must always remember about human nature is that humans are forgetful and lazy!
Instead of hoping for them to come to you, you must extend your hand first, yet again! Show you care. Make sure they know you think they’re special and you’re glad to have met them. I literally scrolled through FB and added everyone I could find that I met. What was the next step? I wrote a personalized message to each and every person I was able to reach, and the rest through email.
Yep. I sat for a good 1 hour and 30 minutes before my plane departed, and even more throughout the week sending personal messages to everyone.
To quote myself: Wherever you go, you are a representative of your people group, your country, and least of all yourself. Sit on that and reflect a bit. This is what I call Ambassador Living.
I’ve already written about this, but I’d like to reiterate. Sure, the conversation may have ended after a few messages back and forth. It doesn’t mean that your relationship is over. A relationship ends when you make it end. You really have NO idea where your friendships will take you across the world. Whether it be the ones you’ve had since you were a kid or the guy you met on the street five years ago, it doesn’t matter. They all have value. If we want to live a life full of meaning, we need to know and pursue adventure for all it’s worth.
I know. I’m a loser, but this is how you love out loud! How were the reactions, you may ask? Everyone was very responsive and grateful for something so small and simple. As petty of attempts may seem, something my Dad told me when I was wondering if it was worth being a friend to someone, “You never know what’s going deep down inside. Something as simple as a phone call can change their life.”
I agree. I hope you do too. How do you network?