It was a whirlwind time at the BlogPaws Conference. I was trying to keep my mind in the game and not on the fact that Henrietta was home in a cone! It was easy though as the family kept sending me pictures of her (although she looked so pathetic I felt guilty!) and the content of the sessions and the ability to finally meet, in real life, so many of the pet-loving people I have come to know through social media was invaluable.
Because I am a constant networker and getting-out-of-my-virtual-office person I am typically at ease in meeting strangers. I find the best way to break the ice is to say, “Hi, I’m Robbi (if you’re me, of course) what brings you to the BlogPaws Conference?” When you’re networking or meeting someone for the first time, ask who they are and what they do. Don’t make the conversation about you and what you do… until they ask and invariably they will.
I always tell my clients, networking is about getting to “know, like and trust” a potential client or business partner. The best way to do that is to give the person you’re meeting a chance to say who they are and what they do. After all, if someone comes up to you and asks you that question, don’t you feel a bit special knowing that they want to get to “know, like and trust” you?
I gathered many business cards at the BlogPaws 2014 Conference, but with every card I gathered, I made certain I made a connection with that person. Whether it was learning they were a first time conference attendee or a newbie blogger or a longtime blogger with a kick ass way to raise money for animal causes, I learned a bit about them before I handed them my card or asked for theirs. Before I “learned” how to network, my time spent at events was all about bringing home as many business cards as I could – it was like I felt I was going to win a prize or something. “Robbi Hess, finalist in the collector of the most business cards!” Well, that never happened, but what did happen was I got home and looked at the cards and wondered, “John Smith? Now which one was he?” You’re not making a valuable connection if you have that thought in your mind.
As the BlogPaws Blog manager I had the luxury of interviewing conference speakers prior to the conference and then made certain I made the personal, I’d-like-to-shake-your-hand connection. I met Brian Easter, Matt Beswick, Shawna Schuh, Rose Hamilton, Ted Nguyen and finally got to have a conversation with Steve Dale (I’ve read about him and silently stalked him on his radio shows and other media, but hadn’t ever shaken his hand)
Now that I am home from the conference, I am honestly gearing up to reach out to the contacts I’ve made and make even deeper connections so that when we meet again in Nashville at BlogPaws 2015 we have had a year to get to “know, like and trust” one another! What are your BlogPaws plans?