I could also call this “How to meet people at a conference you aren’t even attending.”
Do you hang out on blogs and in forums dedicated to your topic or niche?
Do you see mentions of conferences in areas which are driving distance from you?
Do you wish you could go but your finances, schedule or fear get in the way?
If you answered yes to those three questions, you defnitely want to keep reading.
It’s difficult to make time to do the things we say we want to do. Sometimes it really is about the finances. Many times it really is about not being able to schedule the time off work and away from the family.
And definitely anyone who is an introvert, who suffers bouts of depression or who has social anxiety disorders will agreee – attending a conference is emotionally overstimulating AND draining at the same time.
Here’s how I’ve gotten around the issues mentioned, all of which have stopped me in the past.
First, through the forum interface or via a website contact form, I send a message to the person who says they are attending the conference.
No, we may have never actually met but we are aware of each other and have been in direct or indirect communication through forum posts, blog comments or even email.
Ask them if you may meet for dinner on one of nights of the conference. Since most of us like to eat, it’s highly probable you’ll get a ‘sure, that’d be great‘ reply.
Provide your contact details and ask for theirs in return so you’re sure to connect.
On the night you’ve agreed to meet, head out to the conference location. Call or text them with an approximate arrival time and let them know you’ll be in contact again once you are in the conference center or hotel lobby.
You may feel anxious as I did and if this is the case, think of it as a dinner date with friends you haven’t seen in years. It’s okay to be nervous but you know you have something in common so at least you can start the conversation there.
Once you arrive, text or call them and let them know you have arrived and ask where they would like to meet.
Meet up, have dinner, hang out and then meet some of the other great people who are also attending the conference – or crashing it like I did. 😉
If you have your business fully set up, make sure to take business cards as you can pass them out while you’re meeting and greeting people. (I didn’t have business cards which won’t be an issue next time.)
I did this at the most recent (NAMS) Niche Affiliate Marketing Seminar and I have to say, after meeting:
Angie Newton at LosingItAndLovingIt.com
Debra Lloyd at NextGenBizTools.com
Natalie Akpele at CuddleBuggs.com, along with her husband Scott.
Melissa Evans whom I enjoyed part of my evening conversing with.
Jessica whom I also enjoyed conversing with and who had a really great idea I can’t wait to implement.
Sharyn Sheldon at BusinessContentPLR.com
Angel Williams at Fresh Video Design, who also shared a photo of her adorable doggy,
I feel invigorated.
It was amazing to be face to face with people. I loved it. I had a great dinner, with fun and insightful conversations. I made many new local and non-local friends, hanging out in the conference lobby and by the fire pit.
It wouldn’t have happened at all if I hadn’t contacted Angie and then followed through with my teeth chattering.
Yes, all that occurred, not through attending the conference, but through making a dinner plan and following through on it.
Does it pay to actually attend conferences? Absolutely as long as you can swing the financial and scheduling concerns.
With that in mind, I’ll definitely be attending the full NAMS event February 8-10, 2013.
Even if you can’t attend the conference of your choice and you’re only a few hours drive away, go for dinner.
You never know who you’ll meet, the ideas you’ll generate for your business or the friendships you’ll cement, unless you show up.
NAMS is a great conference to attend if you’re just getting started with your online business. It’s a great conference to attend if you’re ready to grow your existing online business.
I definitely plan to attend NAMS 9, which is February 8, 9 & 10, 2013. Reserve your seat today for the lowest cost ticket to the event. I look forward to seeing you at the next NAMS, even if we just meet up for dinner and conversation.