A lot of you guys will go to a conference and wander around in these different sorts of places where you’re just trying to meet people randomly and you’re introducing yourself over and over again, and other people are introducing themselves to you and you’re not directly driving value. So today I wanna share with you tips on how to network and win at a conference, even if you’re not a speaker, even if you’re not well known:
1. Do your homework. Know who your lighthouses are
Always have that list of the top people in that conference, because you may run into them or walk with them and not even know who they are and what a huge miss that would be.
Need help identifying your lighthouses? Here is a Micro Course on the Topic Wheel that will teach you the importance of taking all your content, organize it by topic, and connecting those topics to the appropriate people of authority– Your Lighthouse.
2. Always wear one thing that will really stand out.
Always wear one thing that people will ask you about.
3. Walk up to these people and say Hi
A lot of the top people are going to these conferences. You might think they’re so important that you wouldn’t be able to meet them, or you’re a nobody compared to them. Just walk up to them and say Hi, however, don’t pitch your products and services.
4. Come with the Right Energy
Just come with the right energy. You just have to go do it. You don’t have to worry about being super intelligent and witty. Simply be interested in them if you’re interested in them and what they’re doing. That carries the conversation.
Always be more interested than interesting.
Because if you just come up talking about you, people are gonna get really turned off of that. It seems very self-promotional. Be interested in them and they’ll ask about you and then you can talk about yourself.
When people ask you questions, come with that energy. It’s a lot different and people feel heard and they love talking about themselves.
5. Don’t just do small talk.
Don’t ask them, “How’s the weather?” “How they’re doing?”
Ask them something specific about what they do that demonstrates that you have done your homework, which goes back to step number one. If you do that then you have kind of the start of a decent conversation.
6. Co-create Content. Ask them if you can make a video honoring them.
Pull out your cell phone and say, “Wow, that was amazing. Can we make a video honoring you on that tip you just shared?” and you whip out that phone.
Another way to co-create content is just to take a selfie picture with your lighthouse.
Need more guidance on how you can spice up and make your every content worthwhile? Here is the Content Marketing Course that will teach you how exactly does one create great content, especially with limited resources, and often in competitive and unsexy industries.
7. Pull out a microphone.
You have to be willing to do something that feels awkward, which is pull off the phone and the microphone. Otherwise, the quality ruins the video.
8. Use those videos to build your brand
At the risk of sounding self-serving, when you’ve reached out to other people and you say something genuine about something you’ve learned from them, or something they’ve done for you and they reciprocate, now you have a piece that you can use to build your brands.
Take that feedback and pop it into your landing pages. Putting it into your marketing materials, use it as ads to be repurposed on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
When you keep building upon that. That builds your reputation in ways that you would never imagine. Your reputation does the work for you. And it might take a couple of years. Some people can do it in a few months, but you should never need to introduce yourself ever again.
Did you know that the easiest way to get people’s attention is through video? Here is the One-Minute Video Course that will help you increase that engagement by increasing awareness about your brand through video content.
9. Activate your Content Library
When other people are leaving feedback or you’re collecting these kinds of positive mentions, store it in your content library, taking snippets of your Zoom calls.
Not sure how to begin? Here is a guide that will teach you how to get your Content Library activated.
10. Repurpose that content
Repurpose that content and run ads against it so other people can see.
Not sure how repurposing works? Here is an episode of Office Hours where Dennis explains what repurposing content means and how it plays a big part in the Content Factory including some cool techniques that he uses such as Artificial Intelligence. Learn how you can turn one piece of content into many other forms of media which you can then use as blog posts, snippets, etc.
11. Deploy the Dollar-a-Day Strategy
When you are doing a podcast, chop up pieces of that podcast and then push them out there using ads promoting snippets of that podcast and target the audience of those you interview.
Put dollar-a-day ads on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and TikTok because they are doing the work for you to build your brand.
Want to promote to audiences that will eat up your content but not sure how? Here is Facebook For a Dollar a Day Course that will have you set up.
12. Follow up with these new connections
Personally connect with people on social media when you can, because then you’re following up with them without having to do a one-on-one fashion.
Because of course, if you’re both connected on Facebook or Instagram or whatever it is, When I post something on my story, I’m staying top of mind with them. And that’s a non-intrusive way for me to follow up and stay on top of their mind. What you can also do is swipe up on their story or posts and say something cool.
So the power of going to an event is that it’s great meeting people one on one, but at a conference for a 48-hour window, however long, that’s the most valuable piece of real estate in your industry in that year. What happens is instead of having to fly around to all these different places and meet all these different clients and partners, just for one moment, you have everybody in the industry at one time.
So if you’ve done your research three months ahead of the event, you will get this leverage effect and it doesn’t mean you have to go to conferences all the time if you know who your figureheads are and if you build meaningful relationships with them along the way because when you finally meet them in person, it’s like planting seeds and being able to harvest them.
And then with the harvesting of the seed, is to collect these short-form videos. So collect tons of little videos along the way. Because what we gonna do with those videos that we’re collecting is to turn it into something.
You may be thinking that your personal brand is your website, your headshot, your logo, and your color scheme. All those are branding elements and all those things are important. But your personal brand is not what you say about yourself, it’s what other people say about you, and the intersection there is to get very good at your messaging and be very strategic with your messaging.
13. Maintain a Niche
Do you have a niche that you clearly surf?
Even if you are multi-talented or even if you know you can serve these five different kinds of clients, you need to have one visible niche that you clearly know. Even if you can do all these other things, you need to have one niche that’s super clear. It has to be a particular pain for a particular, ideally it’s a vertical or it’s someone who has a particular kind of problem but you really need to start with a niche.
Cut to one niche. Because that’s the only way you can develop enough density in a particular area. In order to grow, you have to do less. Just focus.
So what is holding you back from being able to do the above? Is it because:
- you feel that you are introverted or you don’t have the kind of communication skills?
- you’re scared of reaching out to people?
- Can’t think of what to say?
One of my favorite quotes is, “If you want results that 99% of people don’t have, you have to be willing to do what 99% of people aren’t willing to do.
Because there are a lot of great people out there, but they don’t take action. They have limiting beliefs where they tell themselves, “Oh, I could never do that, et cetera.” You just have to take that step. You have to take action.
Because the only way that you gain in these conferences is by pushing yourself and doing things that make you uncomfortable and push you outside your comfort zone consistently.
The biggest thing here is how can you think outside the box and how can you go to your next event with the person with authority.
I know, this takes a lot of nerve and you have to have enough internal strength. There’s a risk that you will be rejected, but you still gonna do it in such a way that it’s not about you but edifying them by sharing their tip with your audience. They don’t need to know that your audience is really small on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
You win at conferences because you know who you wanna talk to. You make content with them. It can feel a little bit uncomfortable, but it’s only in your mind. It builds your brand. If you do this well, you don’t need sales people. You don’t need cold outreach.
Let’s be honest, people do business with people that they like and trust and know. So if you sit at a table and don’t meet anyone, you’re not gonna do business. You have to get uncomfortable, have to get out your comfort zone and be uncomfortable to make waves.
Want to take advantage of all the resources that we have including the full video of this Event? With just $297/Month, you Get Private Access to One of The Most Sought-After Digital Marketing Experts In The World+full access to the Academy, and a weekly one-hour session with Dennis where you can ask anything you want.
About the Author
You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.
You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.