Making An Impression : How To Make Your Mark At Conferences

Whether it's an event related to jewellery, blogging or something more relevant to your career, there will be occasions where all of us venture to a conference.
Particularly in relation to the latter, these are regarded as excellent networking events and can make the world of difference as you bid to progress your career.

However, regardless of who you are, these conferences can be daunting. Quite often, there are a lot of people in attendance, and this can make it difficult to make an impression and ultimately get your point across, especially if you are not the outgoing sort.

This is where today's guide enters the picture. Let's now look at some actionable advice that you can take on-board as you bid to make that elusive positive first impression at these conferences.

Forget your comfort zone

Sure, some of you will approach these events and will enjoy them. You'll be completely in your element and love every minute. Unfortunately, this isn't going to happen for everyone. Some of us are terribly shy, and conferences can be intimidating places.

The only advice we can offer here is to step out of your comfort zone. If you don't, you will walk away having spent a lot of money on the ticket and other expenses, yet reaped no results from it. I know I've made some great contacts from blogging conferences, so don't be afraid to talk to businesses and other conference attendees.

What's the worst thing you can do? Don't be a lurker. Don't approach someone half-heartedly, stand in the background, and leave everyone in that awkward position of "what happens next". If you are blogger, practice your 'elevator pitch' to ensure you know what to say to businesses about why they should work with you.

The old cliché; dress to impress

It's one of the biggest clichés going, but there's a lot of truth in the statement about dressing to impress.

Sure, each conference will have its different dress codes but generally speaking, edge on the side of “slightly” formal. Smart casual boots like these are a great example of what you can wear on your feet, while any business casual garments will also work and do the trick. Some conferences a suit is often worn, I know when I attended jewellery conferences my husband and I would wear a suit when meeting with jewellery brands.  I would say if you are a woman, don't wear your highest heels as you want to be comfortable and some of these conference halls can be huge.

Take a stack of business cards

You might be anything but the social animal that these conferences appeal to, however, if you are just going to prepare in one way, make sure you take some business cards along. This is at least an easy way to wrap up a conversation with others, whilst it also shows that you mean business and are looking to take things away from the event in question. If you are a blogger, take a media pack with all your information on one A4 sheet - similar to a CV.

Sometimes it's not just about the present

This final tip revolves around both how you should be approaching conferences, and what you need to be doing afterwards.

In short, attending a conference isn't just about the present. You also need to do some legwork before, in relation to who you are reaching out to, and the aims you want to approach the event with. If there is a downloadable guide to who is attending, check it out before you get there and make notes on who you want to meet and why.

Nevertheless, the bulk of the work is going to come afterwards. It's at this point that you have made your contacts, taken in the material, and you now need to act on the advice. If you have collected contacts, try and reach out to them in the day or so after the conference to maximize your chances of reaping something from the relationship. Send them an email or give them a ring if appropriate.

Let me know, have you attended any conferences? Do you have any advice?

*Collaborative post

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