Conferences Networking

Networking to the Next Level: How I’m Going to BlogWorld.

Some of you guys know that two months ago, Dave (former client) asked me if I’d be his networking assistant. As you’d expect, I was all “oh noes I can’t do that.” Huzzah for excessive modesty.

This has led to a lot of questions – some of which are answered in this post.

How did it happen?

In July, after getting denied for a bank loan (thank you, self employment), I made the difficult decision to cancel BlogWorld. For the first time this year I was able to take an honest look at my workload, and budget, and realize that I didn’ thave the energy to pull off what was required to attend.

I tweeted about it, had a bit of a cry, and went back to work.

Later that night, Dave asked to speak with my honestly about what it would take to get to BlogWorld. This conversation was brutal on my end because I am a very proud person. I don’t like mixing personal and business. I won’t get into the content of the conversation however I was pretty adamant that I don’t accept charity. Dave was equally as adamant that this was a business opportunity and it would be win/win.

This was offered to me because my work has proven to be an asset to Dave over the past year. I really want to write about what an honour this is and how I am enjoying the work I do, but that isn’t useful for you guys. Instead, I’ll be blogging about the specific skills that make me stand out as a networker and how you can position yourself as someone that is extremely useful.

My name is Jade Craven and I’m going to Vegas.

The AWESOME news is that Dave will be covering my travel expenses in return for me being his networking assistant. This will require a lot of work before, during, and after the event.

I do want to clarify that this won’t be an easy gig. There is a reason I rock at what I do . We haven’t yet had the chance to formally talk about strategies but I have a fair idea of what I’ll be doing. Networking at a conference is really hard work and a lot of the hard work will be shifted onto me so Dave can do what he rocks as.

I’m really looking forward to it. I’m brilliant at what I do but, because of my obscurity, am unable to see if my theories on a larger scale.

So – what makes me appealing as a networking assistant?

I know who he should be talking to

Dave is busy. Like, really busy. Most of our conversations happen around midnight his time when he’s starting to feel exhausted.

Checking out people takes a lot of time. There are so many tiny aspects of filtering the information. I check who they are talking to, what they are writing about and whether their business style aligns with Dave’s.

Here are some examples of how I made it easier:

  • Corbett Barr shows a lot of social proof in the sidebar of Think Traffic. However, I didn’t even have to look there to recommend him. I’d had several friends speak positively of him and he demonstrated his authority via the tone of his email. The week after, they created a podcast.
  • Another example is when Srinivas Rao commented on a post, and mentioned how he wanted to interview Dave. He was doing a launch and didn’t have the time to go back and check the posts so I sent Dave there and recommended he approach Srinivas. It’s amusing now because Srini approached me shortly after for an interview without knowing the connection.
  • I’d recommend people to feature as a Lessons Learned case study. This was awesome because it meant some of the less famous people were featured and was able to show that you don’t need to have a huge empire to have a success launch.

These activities were incredibly easy for me because I have created processes for people to keep me up to date. It saved Dave a significant about of time. This will be beneficial at BlogWorld because:

  • I can help set up interviews and testimonials. I know the people that have bought Dave’s content and were able to successfully create a product. I also know of unique interview topics tailored to that persons situation.
  • I have a solid idea of the products and launches that are going on in the industry, and in other verticals. This means I can save the chit chat and connect Dave with people that he could really help, and then leave a good impression on.
  • I’m going to be doing cheat sheets on some of the people we’ll be talking to. Some of these will include inside information.

I can help facilitate the conversations

When bloggers of two different tiers get together, the initial conversation can be stilted.

I’m the type of chick that is good friends with bloggers and people at all levels of success. I see them as the person they are, as opposed how much authority they are perceived to have. This makes it easy for me to walk up and have a conversation with them about their kids, hobbies or projects.

Additionally, I encourage people to talk to me about their projects via various backchannels. I’ll ask about ways I can help, and to learn more about what they are doing. This means that when I introduce two people, I can present the information in a way that they’ll be instantly interested in the other person.

This is awesome for me because it means I get to network passively – I’l be remembered, but I won’t be the centre of attention. I’m really looking forward to attending for this purpose.

I’s also good for Dave and the people that I’m connecting him too. I can bypass the initial “get to know you” stage and encourage conversations that will be memorable.

If you aren’t buddy/buddy with a lot of people like I am, you can make the conversation easier in the following ways:

  • Engage with them on twitter beforehand. When I met Jonathan Fields he said “I know that face” which really shocked me.
  • Try and figure out what topics make their heart sing. I
  • Get something signed. I’m an autograph collector and this a useful way to get someone’s attention for a couple of minutes – AND you get an autographed book!

I’ll help record the conversations

This is the part of conferences that is always a pain in the arse. I kinda love being the photo girl because I get to hang out behind the scenes but will capture the stuff that people remember forever.

I’ll be collecting and uploading interviews, testimonials, photos and other media as part of my job. I’ll even be able to sneak in a few tips on good questions to ask.

This is awesome because Dave doesn’t know all the random stuff that I do. He may not remember the many gushing emails he gets about his product in a weekend challenge. I do, and in many cases will have checked out the product. This is going to make for some brilliant conversations to share with people.