How often are you tweeting during the day? I’m sure its quite often. Then again, who’s not tweeting? We all are on Twitter, but the networking truly begins at a conference. Shaking hands is the best way to network and establish yourself as a credible source in this social space. When the conversation is only held online, you never have the opportunity to put a face with the name. You also never have the opportunity to truly get to know another person you may have connected with online.
The handshake means everything. It really determines what type of an impression you are going to make on someone. People go to conferences to network, become educated, and expand their interests. The majority of people going to conferences represent a business, whether that be their own or one they work for. That first handshake and interaction with another person can make or break your conference experience. It may sound like I’m over exaggerating, but let me give you an example.
You’ve made a connection online with someone who shares similar interests as you. You both have a similar type business. It just so happens you’re both going to the next BlogWorld event. Now, when you meet them face to face…your handshake and eye contact is going to let them know if you are for real or just all talk. Most people online hide behind they’re computers. They lack the ability to take the conversation off the internet and into real life. You may talk a good game online, but the real test is when you bring that to real life – the conference scene! If you have a grasp of interacting and making yourself known to people at a conference, this can not only be great for your networking, but for your business as well. You can be sure that once the conference is over, if you’ve made a good impression on someone, they will remember you and check out what you’re doing. However, if all you are is the person who lives in your computer, but can’t bring that energy to the conference, then your contacts aren’t going to be as substantial.
Contacts you make online become substantial and mean more once you have shaken hands with that person. Now you know they’re “real” and a “transparent” person. The things you say online follow you and if you say things online that resonate with people both on and offline, then you’re success as a conference goer is going to be a fruitful one. Many people usually get that vibe from your first handshake with them whether or not you present yourself as a successful person. The conference seen is a great way to establish yourself and become known in the industry. However, you have to make sure you make the effort to make a good impression. If you make a good impression on one person, they may introduce you to someone they know and that individual may have significant influence in the space. When going to a conference, you never know who you will run into. The possibilities are endless, you just have to show your confidence and demonstrate you are going to be taken seriously. Meeting new people for the first time can be difficult especially in a conference scene, but that’s why people go to conferences. Everyone wants to see new talent and be educated on something new.
If you do your thing and do your best to make yourself known in a positive way, then those online conversations you have when the conference is over will mean a lot more. You go from being just an online contact to a meaningful friendship. Just remember, the true success at a conference starts with that handshake and introducing yourself. Even if you don’t consider yourself a known person, that’s fine. Most of the people there aren’t…its all about the impression you make. That in the long run will make you “known.” Ultimately, after the conference is over, you have handed out your business cards, you don’t want to just be another card in the pile. You want them to look at your card, remember who you are, and reach out to you. That my friends is the ultimate conference experience and that’s why the conference scene can help you in so many ways! Its worked for me and I’ve only been able to attend one conference. However, one is better than none and that alone had given me the opportunity to talk with so many people.
So, give it a shot, shake my hand and tell me about yourself.
Frank Angelone is a blogger at Social Tech Zone. He talks about social media strategy and tech tips for individuals and small businesses. He also runs a tech support company providing individuals with remote technical support. You can follow me on Twitter – http://twitter.com/frankangelone or email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to connect or have any questions.