Friday, August 15, 2014

Great Advice from the Fabulous Richard Millington

One thing I love is when marketing materials include fantastic content.  Few people do that better than Richard Millington, an online community expert who runs Feverbee.  In support of his upcoming FeverBee SPRINT program, Richard shared the advice below.  Fantastic for anyone looking to make the most out of in-person meetings.  And, I am very sorry that I cannot make the October 29 to 30 program in San Francisco -- it looks truly stellar, as is most everything that Richard does.  Hope some of you can make it!



The Real Value of Events - by Richard Millington

"The real power of events is bringing quality people together. This includes people who you can help and hire. People who can solve your problems. People you might become friends with.  At Lithium’s Linc event, I met Caty Kobe. She began working for us last week. Too often, we waste the amazing value of events. I see people looking at their phones during valuable free-discussion time. At FeverBee SPRINT, all the stars of our field are going to be in the same room. All the top companies in our sector will be there. We’re going to do everything we can to create the perfect social environment to meet all of them. However, we also want you to help yourselves.
We know there many introverts among you. We’ve put together a few tips that have helped us over the years. 

20 Tips For Being Popular At Events

1)    Research the attendees beforehand. Make a list of who you want to meet and what you want to ask them.

2)    E-mail the top 10 people you want to meet in advance. Ask them for coffee before you meet up. If any are local, arrange to meet at the airport, share cabs, hotels, etc...

3)    Be the organizer. Be the person that brings the fun. Organize a small, exclusive, pre-event meetup, book an airbnb house with 6 rooms, and let 5 others join you. Host a small after party at yours (please don’t go crazy). Suggest shared travel. Invite 5 people to join you for a lunch group. Go outside the venue to have lunch with a few others.

4)    Say something remarkable within the first 30 seconds. We all know the elevator pitch. The goal isn’t to sell the product, the goal is to intrigue the person enough to continue the discussion. How do you answer the “what do you do” question? I used to say “we help companies build communities”. Yawn.

Try different lines…for a year I would say “we figured out a specific social science principle to ensure every community reaches critical mass”…you can guess what their next question is right? Focus on the vision with an interesting twist, not the functional aspect of what you do.

5)    Tell stories. Have a few funny/interesting stories about your work you can share. Make sure it has a beginning, middle, and an end. Get comfortable telling the same few stories about your work. Don’t give facts, give interesting examples. Put together your best stories that you can drop into a discussion.

6)    Know your strengths. Be clear about how you can help people you meet at an event. Don’t be shy about saying what you’re good at, but counter-balance this with the next point.

7)    Know your weaknesses. Be clear about what you need help with. People want to help you. You need to know what you want help with. Be specific.

8)    Know who/what you’re looking for. Similar to the above, if you met someone you want to work for, recruit, or interact with at some point, how would you know? What qualities would they have? Most of the people we’ve hired are those we’ve previously met at an event.

9)    Introduce yourself. Get comfortable turning to the person next to you and say “Hi I’m ….”. if you do this 100 times, you’ll never get a bad reaction. Follow a 3-second rule. Do it within the first 3 seconds of sitting down.

10)    Join existing groups. I go up to existing groups and say “mind if I join you, I’m Rich”. I shake hands with everyone, let the discussions continue, then join in with my opinion.

11)    Set a deadline. I’m told this advice originates from pickup literature. If you’re keen to speak to a star within the sector, let them know you only want to speak to them for 2/3 minutes. This eases the fear that they will be stuck in one discussion for hours.

12)    Speak slower and watch your upward inflection (or high-rising terminal). Slow your speech down a little. You will sound more authoritative. Unless it’s a question, don’t let your last word end on a higher pitch. This is perceived as portraying insecurities.

13)    Ask the golden question. If you’re looking for work or clients, get used to asking “So what brings you here?

14)    Leave others before they leave you. Or, put more simply, don’t be clingy. If someone moves away and you follow them without being invited, you’re being clingy. Don’t panic, we’ve all done it.

Far better to end the discussion at a high point and find someone else you can meet. You will circle back round later. If you have a pause in the discussion and can’t think what to say next, it’s time to meet other amazing people.

15)    End discussions politely. If you want to end a discussion, offer your business card and then say you’re going to circulate the room a little. We can all understand this.

16)    Book the next step. If you want to continue the discussion. Get your phone, load up your calendar, and ask them when they’re free. Arrange a meeting right there. This is powerful to do in person.

17)    Chase up furiously. Don’t chase up to keep in touch, chase up with a few practical ideas or a new thought to add to your discussion. Recommend a book or an update on what you discussed. Suggest a time to do something fun.

18)    Use the (sales)force (app). This is a little controversial, but use your phone’s salesforce app to keep an update of your interactions. Don’t update it on the networking floor, that makes you seem like the person who is too shy to go talk to people. I do my updates out of sight.

19)    Focus on fun, not done. Don’t worry so much about getting stuff done. We’ll cover that in our workshop sessions. Focus on having fun discussions with the people you meet. Suggest a few ideas.

20)    Go easy on the unsolicited advice. While you're just trying to be helpful, unsolicited advice can sometimes be irritating. If people don't want your advice, don't give any. Better yet, you can ask “mind if I give you some unsolicited advice?”"

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