7 tips to network like a pro at SMMW14

Networking is no zero sum game. But it is undeniable that effective networking skills play a large part in the profits and business opportunities your firm generates. As they say – It is all about who you know!

SMMW14 is my second SMMW and I love it! It offers brilliant opportunities to create strong business partnerships and lifelong friendships. And here are some tips to work the crowd like a pro!

1. Never calculate ROI when interacting with someone

When you meet someone and start talking, dump any potential business gains to the very back of your mind. You are meeting an individual, not a company or business opportunity. So try to connect on a personal level. Bring out the charm. And spread some positivity and good vibes all around. When that person wants to do business with a company in your vertical, he’ll definitely choose you, no matter how far down the line it may be. Make the ‘connect’ and continue to keep in touch. Offer help in any way possible.

2. It’s not about your product. It’s about their problem.

People very often tend to think that they just have a few minutes to make their pitch, and get right into it with gusto. Big mistake! Not only will that put you on par with almost everyone on the scene, besides every insurance salesman out there, you’ll also come across as pushy. Instead, try to decipher the problem your counterpart is facing. What they are here for. So if you don’t have any product or service that will offer them succor, try pointing them in the right direction. Or, take down their contact info, and when you get the chance, whenever or wherever that may be, let them know of a potential partner.

3. A big smile @ SMMW, is the equivalent of a pick-up line elsewhere

Nothing quite breaks the ice like a bright smile, and friendly body language. Even if you may not get the chance to speak to someone, they’ll remember you for your affable disposition, and will be open to a conversation when they run into you next.

4. Walk in early to sessions if you can

Obviously anyone attending the same session as you has got to have common interests. That’s a great meeting ground, and the start of the session is a great time to explore potential common business goals. As people trickle in you can give a cheery smile around and chat up and down the room. But make sure you don’t appear over eager or in a hurry!

5. The morning walks/runs are the perfect start to a networking day

There’s something about the fresh morning air that fills all of us with optimism – the perfect mood to connect and explore. Use this time to advertise your brand of humor, make connections, and indulge in intellectual discussions. But don’t hard sell. There’s the entire day to do it, and nagging in the morning, as we all know, is a put off! The networking walks at SMMW14 is great way to start the day at 6:00am on Thursday (March 27) and Friday (March 28). The walks last year were a blast!

6. Networking after keynote speeches and lunch

Well, SMMW14 sure does make it easy to network, without missing a session. There are these structured networking sessions built into the agenda. There also is some time after lunch to meet people. And no one said you can’t network during lunch either!

7. Networking parties – Business with pleasure, literally!

This is a good time to work the room, without feeling guilty about being too business-like. After all, that’s just what the occasion is meant for. But remember to walk the fine line between ‘party’ and ‘pooper’. Droning on in a drab monotone is not a good idea. Make it a point to enjoy the atmosphere, and like a good DJ, read the mood and tune your strings to match it!

At SMMW14, there are 2 great opportunities – the Opening-Night Networking Party aboard the massive USS Midway Aircraft Carrier. And the Second-Night Networking Party: San Diego Bay Networking Cruise. For the latter, do remember that boarding begins at 8pm, and only the first 1000 people get in!

So here’s to happy and productive networking at SMMW14. If you’ve got some tips of your own, do write them in the comments section or post it and send me a link. I would love to learn from your experience. If you’d like to ‘network’ with me in San Diego, drop in a line at mkrishna@suyati.com, test me at 317-353-3082, or tweet, @kmukund7. Also check out my other blog for SMMW, 6 steps to a guaranteed twitter presence at SMMW14.

Author : Mukund Krishna Date : 18 Mar 2014