Since my start of blogging as a profession, I’ve been thrown into the circle of fire when it came to stepping out of my comfort zone – starting with the attendance of events. In the beginning, I would force myself to venture to these social gatherings or press previews ALONE because I understood the importance of being present there to represent myself and my brand, no matter how uncomfortable or isolated I felt. In fact, the more I put myself in these situations is how I overcame my shyness and became much more confident within myself and when talking to complete strangers!
Events are so important if you want to pursue blogging as a career because it opens the doors for you to meet and work with the brands you desire. I can’t even tell you how many opportunities and collaborations I was able to participate in because I showed up to an event, introduced myself, and displayed what I had to offer – my casual yet affirmative pitch without appearing so obvious about it, so to speak.
Nonetheless most people shy away from attending events alone or speaking to any other people attending said event while there, even the person who emailed the invite, because it’s intimidating! I totally understand and I’ve been there. But if you want to make it in this industry, this is one of the things you’re going to have to learn to master.
HERE ARE SOME WAYS TO BE A FEARLESS NETWORKER AT AN EVENT
START WITH YOUR APPEARANCE APPROACH
Look friendly, throw on your best toothy smile, and BE SOMEONE you would want to talk to. People are drawn to others who “light up a room” so you can get some of your conversations started quickly by being an easy target for someone to come up to.
Have a firm handshake or in some cases give a friendly hug upon greeting. Make eye contact and ask basic starter questions such as, “What is your blog?” if speaking to another blogger or “Thank you for having me here; this is such a fun event!” if speaking to someone who works for the brand hosting. From there your most natural conversation will begin.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Research the concepts behind what the brand event is being hosted for – New Collection Launch? Designer Meet & Greet? Social Soiree? Whatever the cause of celebration, see what you can find out about the brand as a whole (especially if it’s a newer one to your knowledge) or what you can learn about something specific – like the concept behind a collection or more background of the designer. The more you expose yourself to the reasons for the event, the more comfortable you’ll feel when speaking to someone.
BE PREPARED IN THE MOMENT
Events are great for networking because you get the opportunity to pass along your information to other bloggers and brand contacts. I always make sure to bring my business cards with me to each event in case I want to exchange info.
Following the event I always try to email the person I exchanged cards with, saying something like “It was so nice meeting you!” etc. and maybe propose a time to get drinks separately. This is a great way to form new friendships with bloggers or start a potential brand friendship/collaboration.
REMEMBER TO SHOW UP AS YOUR BEST SELF
I love telling myself that this is an opportunity to start fresh and make a new, first impression. No one will know me, very well at least, at the event so this is a great way to show off the strong and outgoing person I am inside. This mentality allows me to feel very confident and naturally guides me to be my friendly self who’s just as passionate about my brand as everyone else attending. You all have something in common – the drive, passion, and ambition that goes into your career.