The security at this convention is killer!

Are you a professional?

No, seriously, are you a professional at whatever it is that you do?

Here’s the funny thing. A lot of professionals attend these annual events in their field. They call them conferences, conventions, expos, etc. Whatever the name, they hop on an airplane to some exotic destination, spend a pile of money for their airfare, hotel, food, and the conference itself, and then what?

They hope.

They hope that all the money and time they put into this event will pay off — somehow — when they get back to the office. These same people who have a five or ten or twenty year plan for their business or their career show up at an event that might have a real impact in their lives and simply wait for something good to happen.

Do you think they’d be better off with a plan?

Over the next several posts we will talk about some good practices to make your time at that upcoming national convention pay off in the long run.

Today, we’re going to keep it simple and brief. We’ll answer the question: Who?

Most people who go to conventions think the people there fall into two groups: “Me” and “Them”. This isn’t horrible, but approaching the question with a little more sophistication can make your efforts go a little further. So, here’s the rogues gallery.

  1. New People. Of course you’re going to meet people you don’t already know. This is a Good Thing. After all, you need to meet new people in order to grow your network.
  2. Convention Connections. If you’ve attended this convention in the past, it’s entirely possible that you will already know people there. Why not take the opportunity to reconnect with them in person. This might be the only chance until the next convention.
  3. Speakers and Organizers. These folks can be pretty well connected and sometimes can just be a lot of fun to know.
  4. Colleagues. Are you attending with other members of your office? Maybe you are part of the local chapter of this association. Either way, this might be an opportunity to get to know them better as human beings — away from normal surroundings.
  5. Success Connectors. Actually, these folks can be in any of the above groups. These are the ones who might be willing to help you meet other attendees — perhaps because they are your prospects or possibly just because you’d like to meet them.

You’ll note that one of the groups I didn’t list was your prospects. It’s not that it won’t happen. It’s just that having that mindset means you’re focusing on the sale, not on the connection. I’m assuming you didn’t spend all that money so you could be the target of a hard sell.

Neither did they.

Build the relationship first then be surprised by the results that follow.

Next time we’ll talk about the best way to connect with these different groups.

Photo by Greg Peters