networking events

I was attending a live event in Orlando recently and, boy, did I get ticked off! At the same time, I felt a deep sadness for many entrepreneurs who were there – all with good intentions – but with very bad ‘event etiquette’, as I call it.

When you are invited to someone’s event, it’s their party, people! Unless you are a paid sponsor or exhibitor or speaker, then you are a guest. Which means, there are rules… etiquette… professional behavior that is expected.

I have come to the conclusion that many of you just don’t know what you don’t know about attending live events. I know you are entrepreneurs and you want to grow your business and, at this particular event where there were in excess of 900 other self-employed individuals, I recognize it is a massive opportunity to grow your business.

But, please, mind your manners. Let me share some of my top tips with you to successfully grow your business while attending live events. And you SHOULD be attending live events – it’s the best way to get face-to-face with potential clients, joint venture partners, possible team members and vendors.

  1. When you are a guest, act like a guest. Show up on time! Participate. Be polite. Do not disrupt what is going on in the main ballroom and on the main stage. Be focused. Learn.
  2. Stop pushing your products and services on people! Once I mentioned that I have a sensitivity to fragrances, holy crap – there were healers all over the place trying to help me. I get it. I appreciate that you’re an expert. But, I’m a smart woman. If I want your help, I’ll ask you. When I politely decline your aggressive offer to heal me, then back off and move on, OK? Pay attention to the signals and go learn some networking skills, please. There is a time and a place for offering support – you might just need to learn the skills to do so professionally. Go take a class.
  3. Offer a business card when asked. I love to get into conversations with other entrepreneurs to learn about their business. And I appreciate that you offer your services to me – but when I say ‘no thanks – I’m good in that category’ – take a hint, OK? Do not shove your business card(s) in my face and suggest that I may want to pass them on to my colleagues. Not going to happen when you handle it that way, believe me! Pay attention to what people are saying to you – and stop focusing just on what you have to sell and promote – watch the body language. You’re far better off just moving along and finding the person who really IS looking for what you have to offer and they are more likely to become your ideal client.
  4. Keep your promotional materials to yourself. Again, unless you are a paid sponsor, exhibitor or speaker, then it is totally inappropriate to be passing around your program materials to drum up business. And, if it’s a ‘speak to sell’ type of event, it is downright rude to be doing that especially if the host has not yet made her pitch/promoted her own program. Host your own event – then promote all you want. Otherwise, this is not the time nor the place. This is when you promote and support your host in what she has to offer to the people she invited to her event. Women helping women – it’s a beautiful thing.
  5. Get focused, set your goals and seize the opportunities. One of the reasons I was at this particular event was to scout out potential sponsors and exhibitors for my own up-coming event in Toronto. I wandered around to see how people ‘worked their booth’, interacted with people, manner of dress and so much more. It was quite an eye-opener for me. I did have some conversations with some ideal candidates and it was quite fun to see many of them ‘shine’ in this capacity at this session. I know that, should they decide to come to my event, my delegates will be in great hands. I had set my goals before getting to Orlando – and came home totally satisfied with my experience.
  6. Be gracious. We all know that some people just complain all the time. But, again, when you are a guest at someone else’s event, be gracious. So, perhaps they aren’t serving the snacks and refreshments that YOU want – do what I did… go back into the hotel area and get/buy what you want – and enjoy. Take charge of your happiness.

Live events are an amazing way to grow your business. You are already in a room filled with similar minded-people. People have needs. They have pain points. They are looking for solutions.

The way you do anything is the way you do everything. Take a good look at my key points above. If you recognize yourself in any of those comments, then take charge and make some changes. I really do believe that many people just aren’t aware of how to act at these large professional events. Learn. Ask questions. Check with your mentors or coaches.

Become the type of wealthy woman leader that people are excited to invite to their events. Then watch your business grow as you surround yourself with ideal clients who need just what you have to offer!

Pat Mussieux is fast becoming regarded as a highly valued Canadian mentor for women entrepreneurs taking her own business from zero to a multiple 6-figure home-based business in less than 4 years. Much of her success can be attributed to her expertise in marketing, mindset and money!  Pat Mussieux is a business coach, author, speaker and radio host. You can reach her at http://www.wealthywomenleaders.com