Not just the physical face-to-face networking, either. I recently participated in a wonderful Arts Symposium called 'Creativity Connected' and the resulting contacts and PAYING jobs are beyond my wildest expectations.
One large order was negotiated right at the show. When I returned from another wonderful networking and learning experience this past weekend (CHA Designers Retreat), I had two messages waiting for me. Both of them basically said, "I saw your booth at the show, and even though you weren't there at the time , I want you."
So what does this say?
It confirms for me that I can sell myself even when I am not there. It means my 6-foot table spoke for me.
The importance of presentation
This is what my set-up looked like, nothing fancy, but it worked:
I placed my business cards at both ends of the table. All pertinent information was highly visible and easy to read. I wanted it to be a true representation of me, my style, and what I have to offer. I wanted my sense of humour and passion to shine. Perhaps that is why I was able to attract people and get business even when I wasn't there.
Which brings me to business cards:I have several. Because I wear many hats I like to tailor my presentation ( which includes my personal appearance and artistic display, and resume) to my audience, because the audience DOES change. Will I be selling or just displaying? What am I promoting? What is the purpose of this show and what do I hope to accomplish?
These issues are all taken into account when I prepare for a show.
And with each show, or symposium, or workshop, I learn. I also like to walk the floor and really take notice of what everyone else is doing. What stands out? What pushes me away?
I try to leave a lasting impression.
I am thrilled when I get a call or email from someone who met someone I met at a show. The person I spoke with was thinking about me and promoted ME. Now that's what I call networking!