Blogtacular founder Kat Molesworth shares her top networking tips
In less than four weeks we’ll be at Blogtacular soaking up blogging tips, inspiration and mind blowing points of view from speakers such as Grace Bonney, Xanthe Berkeley, Igor Josifovic, three of Team Mollie Makes, and more. We’re so ready.
If you’re keen to find out more about blog content, beautiful design, photography, and want to meet like-minded people, then join us at Blogtacular on 13 June 2015 at The Royal Institution of Great Britain, London.
To whet your appetite for the event, we asked one of the founders of Blogtacular, Kat Molesworth, to share her top networking tips and the lessons she’s learnt along the way…
Networking often sounds like a distant activity in which middle aged suits work a room over canapés. It probably doesn’t feel like it’s for you but I think it is right up your street.
Having a network of friends and like-minded creatives can not only boost your work opportunities but it transforms your creative life. Surrounding yourself with people who are on your wavelength is how you boost your creativity whether you’re networking for your career or your hobby. With a network of people to call on for inspiration, help, laughs and community you’ll find your ideas turn into reality.
Nothing beats in person events for expanding your network. Here are my tips for getting the most out of your time.
1 Get to work before the event
Start your networking ahead of the event. If there is a hashtag on twitter or instagram, post relevant content to it and also check out who else is on there.
Is there an attendee list? Go through and check out the other delegates.
If the event runs an online group before the event make sure you’re active in discussions so people get to know and remember you. This worked really well for me after I posted a picture of myself in a gold sequin dress before an event, over a hundred people started a conversation with “Are you the girl in the gold dress?” which was a nice ice breaker for an introvert.
Use all of these places as a way to identify who you would like to connect with and reach out to them before the event to let them know you are looking forward to meeting them.
2 Preparation is key
Once you know how many people will be at the event and roughly how many it’s likely you’ll connect with afterwards you can order your business cards. Having an eye catching card helps people remember who you are. Personally, I cut straight to the chase and put pictures of my face on my cards. It may seem a little vane but it helps jog people’s memory when they’re looking at a cardboard square trying to recall how they know you.
My other big tip is to take a backup battery and charger for your phone. When you’re taking photos, tweeting and instagramming at an event your battery drains quickly. Having a backup charge or two in your bag means you won’t miss the opportunity to share on the day.
3 Heading into the event
Take a breath and say hello – break the ice with the first person you meet. If you’re nervous about chatting to people making the first interaction early on will set the ball rolling. If you’re attending with a friend the temptation to stay in your comfort zone will be huge, why not look around and see who you could invite into your conversation? You could be doing someone who is feeling nervous a huge favour.
4 Ask for cards and offer your own
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come away from an event without handing out my card. It’s a missed opportunity and you don’t need to make the same mistake. Ask for people’s cards, “Can I have your card? Here’s mine.” Works well for me.
If you have trouble remembering the details after an event using a fine Sharpie to add a note or two to each card really helps. I store cards in a folder with pockets for each event I’ve been to. That way when I need to contact someone I can search through the right section without having to remember their full name.
5 Be generous
One of the true joys of the creative community is the support and wisdom we share. When you are chatting to people at events be generous with your experience, connections and knowledge.
When I’m at events I give people the same input that I give my collaborators and clients – you never know how a relationship will develop so giving someone your best could be the smartest choice you make.
I love to bring people together and have seen several amazing projects come out of connections I have facilitated. If you meet someone and you think they would work well with someone you know find a way to introduce them.
6 Check in on social media
Be active on the event hashtag. Use it before, during and after to make the most impact. Share nuggets of wisdom, pictures of what’s going on and your appreciation for the organisers. People will be watching the event online as well as in the room and being out there might get you noticed.
On the point of event organisers – I can tell you from personal experience that the public messages of thanks we received after our first conference had us in tears. We were exhausted and had just come through the most stressful period of our lives but knowing it had made a difference to people’s lives was the best feeling ever.
As event organisers we use tweets and instagram images on our site and when we’re pitching the conference so you never know who will see your content after the event. We also remember people who contributed positively and it’s no coincidence that we have speakers who attended our conference in the past – we feel like we know them and what to expect from their social media input.
7 Follow up
After the event is when you turn small talk into a connection. Get in touch with people you met and liked either by email or over social media.
Building relationships takes time. My business partner and I talked online for years and met in person before we ever thought about working together. That relationship developed and it became clear that we had a something worth taking further.
Be brave and invite a group of people together for a drink or meal so you can begin the process of surrounding yourself with like-minded people.
However you choose to approach an event where you can network remind yourself that you might never have this chance again and take the opportunity with both hands.
13 June 2015
The Royal Institution of Great Britain, London