December 05 - 2023

Three Strategies to Make the Most of In-Person Events

Three Strategies to Make the Most of In-Person Events 

After two years of keeping our distance, it will take a while to get used to seeing people again. Remember how much business we used to do face to face? Tap into those memories as you ease back into friendly rooms again.

If you’re not ready, don’t fret. The future of events has changed and many companies are sticking with virtual sessions

With that in mind, you can still find a balance between how you acted before COVID tore the world apart and the current reality. The key is to plan ahead and set clear priorities. 

Pick the ones that count

First of all, don’t go to everything just because you can. Select the events with the right people and the ability to really talk. Skip the events where everyone sits in a dark room and listens to a speaker.

Instead, set a mission and follow it:

  • Ask yourself, “Why am I going to this?” If it’s out of habit, reassess and come up with a better response.
  • Walk in with a goal to leave with a certain number of leads or to find a specific product
  • Focus on industry-based events that will connect you with suppliers and potential customers you need
  • Seek out your key peers right away and catch up with their news in person

Know your limits

Certainly, many people never felt comfortable touching other people’s hands or sharing appetizers from a shared tray. These days, more of us are cautious about those habits while others reach out like they used to do.

Before you head out to a mixer, take a mental walk through the night and decide what feels safe. For example:

  • Are you ready to shake hands?
  • Will you eat or drink anything?
  • Will you wear a mask for all or part of the event?
  • Will you focus on meeting people you know and trust or connecting with new faces?

Once you have this framework in your mind, you can prepare yourself by picturing how the event will unfold.

Rather than get ambushed by questions from other guests, be prepared to explain why you are taking certain measures. By planning ahead, you stop yourself from blurting out words that you may regret later.

Make the most of it

If you are only planning to stay for an hour, make every minute count. If you linger near the bar to build up your nerve, you lose valuable networking time.

How can you really connect with people once you get face to face with them again?

Here are some tips:

  • Prepare so you can arrive when people are mingling.
  • Check the guest list so you know who to seek out.
  • Spend more time listening than talking. You’ll learn more and it’s less work. Plus, people will open up and trust those who give them some quality time.
  • Work the room so you will be seen. Part of business success is being top of mind so don’t be a wallflower.

At the end of your mission, have an exit plan and use it. By then, you should have connected with key contacts and met your goal for the evening – even if it was a dry run for the real thing.