One of the concerns I know a lot of people have is that they aren’t comfortable networking with others they don’t know, which is perfectly understandable.
You don’t have to raise your hands.
You don’t have to feel guilty.
You definitely shouldn’t feel unworthy because you might be an introvert and not as comfortable mixing as others.
You also don’t have to let this keep you from having a great conference, whatever that might mean for you.
How can I say that with such ease?
Because you’re human, that’s why! So let’s map out a game plan to help you feel more comfortable, okay?
I NEED YOUR COMMITMENT TO DO ONE THING.
If you aren’t feeling comfortable at an event where you see me, I want you, I invite you, I IMPLORE you to march right up to me, and say something like this:
“Hi. Are you Nancy Myrland?”
At that point, give me a moment for my head to stop swelling because of the thought that someone other than my Mom actually recognized me.
Then, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE feel comfortable saying any of these statements, or some variation:
“Hi Nancy. I read your post and here goes. I don’t really know anyone here, or very few people, but I’d love to get to know you and some others. Is there any way I can join your conversation?”
Too forward? Okay, then how about this:
“This is my 1st conference. I just wanted to say hi.”
Or, the simplest of greetings:
“Hi Nancy. How are you?”
Perhaps you’re okay with this:
“Hi Nancy. I recently read your blog post about how to feel comfortable at this conference. Can I really take you up on your offer to help me meet a few other people?”
Maybe this is what you really want to say:
“Hi Nancy. I think you’re a goof, but I just wanted to say hi.”
Although I’d prefer not to hear that last one, go ahead as maybe I can show you I’m not a goof at all.
MY COMMITMENT TO YOU
Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. But I also know that:
- I don’t bite.
- I’ve been a first-time attendee at a lot of events and conferences.
- I will welcome you with open arms, which can sometimes even mean a big hug. (I don’t do small hugs.)
- I will do my best to help you meet at least one more person if you’d like.
- I’m a pretty normal person, kind of boring even, so I welcome human interaction to brighten my day.
VETERAN CONFERENCE ATTENDEES
I know there are LMA members who will join me in making this offer to anyone who wants to meet you, right? You know who you are, and so do I! My LMA friends and acquaintances are some of the kindest people I know. Feel free to comment below to help others meet you prior to the conference.
If you’re new to the conference, let us know below because we like to get to know new people too.
Starting with the first one I attended as an in-house marketer in 1998, these conferences have been a primary source of education, as well as personal and professional fulfillment. I hope they become valuable to you too.
I look forward to seeing, meeting and getting to know as many of you as possible!
I’M READY FOR YOU, OKAY? LET ME HELP.
Special Note: For those of you unfamiliar with what LMA11 is, it is the 2011 Legal Marketing Association annual conference of lawyers and legal marketers from around the world. It’s April 4-6 this year in Orlando, so hurry up and register because we’d love to have you!
Thanks to Shannon Pifko for the use of her adorable image above. At least I think it’s adorable!