Last week I had the opportunity to go a conference in NYC, hosted by Ramon Ray @SmartHustle.
It was a conference targeting entrepreneurs and small businesses and the cast of speakers were very good. Like Seth Godin and Claude Silver.
I didn’t know the size of this conference if it would be like thousands of people if it would be hundreds or 50…I was trying to build a picture in how it will look like.
During the last week I spent quite some time preparing this conference, like scoping my goal, what I would target to write in my blog, and trying to know more about the speakers, preparing the questions in case I had the opportunity to make it.
But there were a very strong and basic goal: NETWORKING!
On one side I love to talk with people, but on the other side the fear to be judged is tremendous, especially in places we don’t know anyone and I was by myself!
So I was wondering if I go there and nobody talks to me, it is fine…I smile and that is fine. I am here to listen and learn…and if I feel bad I can leave, and go for a walk in NYC which is not bad (plan B set!). 🙂
My husband advised me to make some business cards… what?? Really?? Do I need it?
Then Ramon Ray , the host of the event sent an email…reminding to bring business cards, and saying how important it is!
So now I need some business cards… don’t have time to order!…so, my lovely husband did it by himself, print it with a nice photo paper (the only one apart form the letter paper we had at home), did the graphics, and it was very nice!
Until I read…”Anna Jo CEO and FOUNDER of annajotalks.com”…What?? Can’t have something like that! I need something that shows my passion! So we changed!
So I had the business cards printed at home, my questions prepared so I should be confident. I arrived to the place in Columbus Circle @NYC, and saw Ramon, recognized him from the picture. I checked in, had my badge, said Hi to Ramon, who actually remember me from the emails, and his kind words made me feel less nervous.
There was some stairs to go down and there were plenty of people standing and talking, and a cameraman. I smiled, and there was a guy standing next to me with the same lost look…I dared and introduced myself… then with a few words he was telling me that he was in the VIP session because he wanted to have a talk with Seth Godin ! “Ah! OK”…I said “I am a rookie in these appearances” (rookie!! Why did I say that!! I don’t even like football!!). “I believe the other speakers are very good also, and I am here because of Claude Silver“…he didn’t know who she was… 2 points for me! 🙂
After this quick interaction I learned to be short and clear! And instead saying that you are only a beginner and you are here to learn, bring something else!…this person didn’t want to loose his time with me, when I was explaining about my blog, in the first opportunity he turned his back to talk with someone else…I didn’t feel it was personal, networking is a game!
Then there was this beautiful lady who had a great smile asking me who I was…me a bit lost still, said “I am starting a blog and I love to talk about people”, then I told a story from my team at work…after this she asked to take a selfie and posted in Twitter…also asked me for a business card…first one delivered!! 🙂
This lady, her name Tracy, was my sunshine in that morning! I felt good and empowered to do the same after.
I was able to meet more people along the event, and each one I asked to take a selfie also! :). People with such great dreams, like Natasha a coach with such a powerful presence and energy that inspired me only for saying hello and a laugh. Jen with a dream of publishing a children’s book with poems. And Christa with the dream of making her own cookies without nuts as her son is allergic, called Happy Cookies!
It was interesting how I met Christa. For lunch break, Ramon was telling to the audience that we had 1h30 min for lunch and to make sure we network. The lunch wasn’t included in the event, and I instead run away. Arriving outside, I was thinking ! NO!! This is the opportunity… I came back to the outside door, and the first person getting out I invited for lunch. It was Christa, who looked at me with a surprised look, and made me feel that I need to identify myself with the badge, “I am in the conference and I am alone! Do you want to network?” 🙂
We had a great time, that we arrived late to the event after!
So networking…it is what it is. The lesson learned is put yourself out there that you will be surprised. Let the game begin and enjoy!
Ah!! The business cards actually work, it is like an agreement of “I am interested in you”…next time I will try to make it more professional!
PS – Below the link of 2 articles that may help to enjoy and be more effective networking. Next time! 🙂