My mother gave me the gift of gab, my dad gave me the gift of listening; thank you Mom and Dad. We don’t all have the gift of gab and are good listeners though, but we all have a gift. Look inwards and find that gift and use it to help others. What does that have to do with networking you are perhaps asking?
Well, I’ve met a ton of people at conferences and at the cocktail parties as I talk a lot, but I also listen. This helps to break the ice and build relationships. But I’ll tell you, one place that relationships are built even more is at the pre- and post-conference tours/trips.
I remember one trip in Dublin when we toured the Wild Atlantic Way Southwest. We all started not knowing each other much, but at the end, we knew each other better and now had a new perspective and respect on what makes each other tick and most importantly, we learned a tremendous amount from each other.
I danced with a broom; long story :-). Just ask Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi. I even think she has a video :-). On that trip, I also learned how to take better Instagram photos by listening to and watching how the masters Katja, Kym, Laurence and Zach works. Note: I’m still learning so be nice when you view my Instagram account :-). I connected a little better with Cacinda from Points and Travel.com and really got to know here better on another trip to Athens earlier this year. She makes luxury travel easy and not so costly by using loyalty points.
I’ve followed, (not creepily, you know on social media :-)) the people who were on that trip and I have since been on other trips with at least two of them. I’ve also supported and followed them on social media and they’ve done the same.
I think in Toronto on the bike trip, I rode with my laptop in hand so I could keep my battery charged, so I was dubbed the computer geek, but it was all fun.
I’ve been on a few trips (Ireland and Athens) with Laurence N from Finding The Universe and also did his and Daniel’s from Canvas of Light photo session in Dublin. Here’s a video on how to photograph a fountain from the pair. I now follow them both and continue to learn from their photographic works. I still have fun with Daniel as he’s not a fan of using the iPad for photos, which I was doing in Dublin (so I ran out of batteries, what’s a blogger to do? :)). But you learn this from casual interactions and that is what the pre- and post- sessions offer.
So enough examples, you should get the point by now.
Let me be clear though, you are not going to get along with everyone as that is just how it is. Life would be so dull if this was the case; don’t you think? But you can still be civil and professional :-). The idea is that you get to understand how others think and whether or not you can make a friend and/or partnership with that person. Be sincere, genuine, helpful and respectful.
Now in the future when you come across an opportunity and you’ve met someone with that skill set, you know exactly whom to refer. For me, this is a very good feeling. How about you?
I can thank my grandmother for making me a giver without expectations. So always think about how you can help your fellow blogger, the rest will work itself out.
One thing too is to talk to the person(s) who are holding the tours and the owners of the establishment you meet along the tours. Listen first as you will hear what issues they are having, then think how you can help them solve it. Ensure you get their contact details so if nothing else, you can send them a thank you note after the trip. I remember a vendor in Ireland, he just wanted to fix something on Facebook. I helped him out and he was a happy camper. Sometimes that is all it takes. So Look, Listen Help.
I hope you are signed up for a few trips at TBEX Athens and other upcoming conferences. I’m speaking about Networking in Athens on Friday, October 24 at high noon, so please come visit and say hello if you see me in the hallways or on a trip :-). I’m excited to be able to see some of you on a trip and get to know you more.
What have you found in your experiences? Please leave a comment below.