Monday, February 28, 2011

The ABC's of Trade Shows and Conferences - L is for Listen

A conference, trade show, convention, seminar or other business gathering is a fantastic place to meet new people.  A common reason cited for attending a large scale business-focused event is because of the opportunities to network within the industry.  Most people hope they will meet someone who will become clients, referral sources, or bring future employment options.

However, this is not an environment to try to "sell".  People do not attend these events to be pounced on by vendors or job seekers.  In fact, it is a major complaint by attendees at conferences when they feel that they are being pitched.

It is not appropriate to hard sell at the "networking" stage or a relationship, therefore it is a waste to try to close business at events.  The first time you meet someone you should listen twice as much as you talk.  Instead of being focused on making sure the other person know all about you and your products / services, it is more valuable if you learn about their situation.

Asking questions and listening will allow you to maximize the time you spend meeting new people at business events.  Most people you meet,while nice folks, are not going to become an ongoing part of your network.  That is okay.  The first meeting is an opportunity for you to gain understanding about others and determine if you should follow up at a later time.

Listening is not easy, especially for those who like to talk.  Being a talker is not a bad thing, but you have to learn to balance yourself, give others a chance, and then hear what they are saying.  When you can gain the information about what is important to others you can become a resource for them. I struggle with this, as I often have information I want to share with people, but reminding yourself to listen first is very important.

If you find a legitimate connection point with someone there will be plenty of time for you to tell them about yourself.  People will notice you more when they know you have heard them.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Catalyst". He works with meeting planners and conference organizers to set the tone for a meeting. His presentations educate, inspire and motivate attendees to engage deeper in the event and make meaningful connections.

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