Do You Get Out Much?
I love people. Have the opportunity to network in person at events? Sign - me - up.
I was invited recently by Jillian Stambuli of Edit Global to assist at a publisher's booth at the American Night Writers Association. They had a great course schedule and were very warm to connect with. We even met a couple of fellow small independent publishers! It was a delight to see Jillian in action, sharing her dream of partnering with authors aiming to make a difference in the world. She covered the big picture questions and referred those with specific proofreading or editing questions to me.
Bring the Business Cards!
Oh yeah - that's still definitely a thing! Some things don't go out of style. Always carry a few business cards as you never know who you'll meet or strike up a conversation with. In line at the post office? Definite conversation opportunity. In line at the store? Definitely good for small talk.
I keep the back of my cards blank so I - or someone - can jot a quick note on the back to remind of the contact made or event we were at. There are some unique sizes and shapes to business cards now, but it's hard to beat a standard size that fits in folks' pockets or wallet and is simply what folks expect to see. It may depend on your business and messaging - are you in a "standard" or "unique" market? Many now have QR codes on cards for customer convenience to access websites or additional information.
Elevator Pitch Ready?
Do you have it fine-tuned and ready at the drop of a hat? This is key! Be ready for "What do you do" at any moment! Narrow your message's focus. Keep your ideal client in mind and how you serve or solve the client's problem. You have 20-30 seconds at most - the length of an elevator ride or someone's attention span, which is ever shorter these days.
In-person Networking Post-COVID
It was such a hard jolt in 2020 when the world stopped. It seems it's only just beginning to get back to "normal" to be back with people. The tech advances during that time with Zoom enabled a decent second-best option. It's remained a viable option for some events hoping to maximize attendance and participation. You can certainly network via zoom - there are people on the other end of the line - but you can't beat the benefit of seeing folks in person to really get the body language and unspoken messaging.
Do I HAVE to Network at Events?
If you're an introvert, this in-person stuff likely isn't your cup of tea. It's not for everyone. But if you have the opportunity to get to a networking event, conference, meeting, or workshops, I highly recommend it. That being said, there are ways to network that don't involve handshakes and hugs.
NOTE: I'm a Hugger. Always have been. There were these great short ribbons that hung from conference name badges at the ANWA conference noting Hugger and Not A Hugger. What a fantastic idea to help everyone be more comfortable!
Networking with Less "People"
I'll list a few ideas here to get you thinking. We can cover each in future blog posts.
How do you network with others? Do you prefer more in-person options or a bit of distance with a computer screen?
I would love to help you expand your network and influence by making sure your start (website/PR materials) and finish (proofread/edit your project) are the best they can be. Let's Chat!