You have taken the plunge with your tickets in one hand and business cards in the other! All set to dominate this world? But then you get there, and the hallway is flooded with entrepreneurs perennially on the hunt for the relatively small number of investors and media people, all competing for their attention.
What should you do to stand out? The simplest formula is — basic. But for the charitable souls that we are, we’d share the code to standing ‘above’ in a crowd. Read on.
Dress For Success
With the humongous sea of people storming around you, it’s easy to wonder if your existence will be noticed by anyone at all. Now, this is really important because if you are noticed by people, they will also take note of the company you represent.
So instead of blending in, stay on top of your outfit game and work out a great ensemble so that it helps you to stand out. The suits coupled with the dudes’ exuberant personality and smart talking will fetch you all the eyeballs you need.
Introductions Are Worth Their Weight In Gold
Investors are always on the lookout for the next big thing, so they won’t be able to resist if a fellow investor or entrepreneurs introduce you while singing your praises. Basic pop psychology.
Aren’t you more likely to remember someone who was introduced by a friend or acquaintance? If not that, name dropping works wonders too.
It would also be smart to ask people who you should meet next while breaking away from a conversation. It’s a whole lot easier to get on the good side of people when you can walk up to them and say “Hey! Joey said we should meet – just wanted to say hi!”
Keep A Mini-Deck Handy
Keep with yourself a brief deck that you can send across on the spot. If you’re lucky, they’ll check your slides during a boring talk, and that will give you a headstart against anyone else who will follow up with them after the event.
This should include nothing else than a quick description of your business, a synopsis of who you are and your best metrics – just enough to get them excited and get back to you for a full-on deck or better yet, a meeting.
High On Social Media
Having a social media presence yourself will let people know your company is attending and bring you into contact with other attendees. In these events, a lot of connections occur over Twitter. Don’t hesitate from tweeting someone you know is there, or praise a speaker/investor for meeting you briefly.
The hashtag train is also not to be missed. Use the official conference hashtag to join the online conversation. Furthermore, adding the official hashtag to your posts will bring extra traffic to your company’s pages.
Double Up On Manpower
If possible, don’t attend conferences as a lone wolf. Having a plus one who is someone from the company you represent is a smart way to go. Now that you have decided to attend this one, having a colleague along will allow you to double down on the presence you can create for your brand and see that you make the most of it.
If one ‘superpreneur’ can turn heads, imagine what two would do.
Business Cards Say Who You Are In Many Ways
Last but not least, a mind-blowing and unique business card can be the difference between being remembered or not, so don’t think twice about spending a few extra quids for a designer and a high-quality print – even if they are primarily for a conference. And it goes without saying that all this becomes an effort in futility if you don’t follow up with a personal email to all those you meet.
Lastly, know thatthe conference will pass by quickly, especially if it’s your first one.It will end in a blur of nervously sweaty handshakes and awkward meetings. But don’t fret if you couldn’t pitch your company as well as you wanted to or didn’t establish enough new contacts. These conferences are more like marathons than sprints, and you’re in it for the long haul.
So, put a shine on your shoes and build your skills and confidence. See you at the next tech conference!
And if you’re in Nairobi next week, BRIDGE East Africa Summit is not something you’d want to miss. The splendid participant lineup of startups, investors, corporates and the governments, will give you an idea. The cherry on the cake is a delegation of high-profile investors from Japan.