6 Surefire Ways to Stand Out at Any Conference or Networking Event

6 Surefire Ways to Stand Out at Any Conference or Networking Event - Taylor A Mead
Waldorf Astoria Orlando, Florida: BlogHer17
The following post contains affiliate links. More information is located at the bottom of this post.

Here's the thing: attending conferences and networking events can be very intimidating, especially if you're a first-timer. But, that's totally normal!

I know from personal experience that these things can be a little anxiety-inducing. I mean, often times you don't know anyone and (let's face it), "selling" yourself to brands, companies, and even individuals with similar interests can be quite nerve-racking.

But, as Serena Williams often quotes fellow-tennis champion Billie Jean King (and we were reminded of repeatedly at #BlogHer17), "Pressure is a privilege." And it really is so true.

"Pressure is a privilege."

Whether you are the most extroverted or the most introverted person in the world, there is one thing that will help to alleviate some of that pressure: preparation.

Here are 6 surefire ways to make sure you stand out at the next conference or networking event you attend:

1. Bring business cards

This is something I definitely learned the hard way, so please save yourself! The awkward "I actually forgot mine" excuse doesn't really hold up when someone asks you to give them your business card. PLEASE, if there is one thing you take from this post, let it be this: always go to conferences and networking events with a stack of business cards. Even if you don't use them, the small price to make them is far less costly than the embarrassment of realizing you are totally unprepared.

*IMPORTANT: At a previous conference I attended we were given the advice to not throw our cards around! While it's important to have business cards, you do not have to give one to every single person you meet. It's more valuable to begin developing a relationship than it is to simply hand out your card to everyone. Create relationships with people and give those you genuinely form a connection with your card. This let's them know you want to stay in touch.

Try VistaPrint, for example, starting at $9.99 you can get 500 business cards (not an affiliate link, I literally just really want to help you with this, it's incredibly important no matter your age!)

Or! Print your own and avoid waiting for shipment.

2. Prepare a 60-second elevator pitch

At the most recent conference I attended, I was actually able to sit down with a professional from .Me to create my perfect 60-second elevator pitch. The idea here is to practice telling someone all about you and "sell" yourself in just 1-minute.

Not sure where to start? Try using these tips from Forbes (note: the same steps can be applied when forming a pitch for talking to brands or individuals with whom you hope to collaborate).

3. Know what makes you "you"

Ask yourself: How are you different from others in your field? How does your background or experiences make you special?

Answer these questions and any other "stand out" ones, flaunt those differences, and show them why you are the best at what you do.

Uniqueness is invaluable.

4. Show a genuine interest

If there is one huge mistake I have found people making, it's showing a lack of interest. It is, of course, only human to drift off occasionally mid-conversation with anyone, but it is so important to listen when meeting others in your industry. While listening seems like such a basic thing to do, you'd be surprised by how many people don't and end up asking a question that was just answered.

Instead of thinking about what to ask next, let the conversation flow organically and see where it goes. Additionally, make sure the conversation isn't all "me, me, me" and more balanced. Use their name, ask them questions, respond to their answers, and you will likely form a wonderful connection.

5. Remember: quality over quantity

Do you think it's a good mentality to go into a conference or networking event with a stack of 500 business cards, hoping you hand them all out before the end of the night/event? Right answer (at least in my very strong strong strong opinion)? NO! No no no. Please no.

The goal of any conference or networking event is to develop real connections and no one could leave with 500 genuine connections.

Instead of focusing on the number of business cards you hand out or how many hands you have to shake, count the number of names you truly remember and friends you make. Those are the people who will be helpful to you, not the nameless faces you cannot recall at the end of the night. Because the truth is:

If you can't remember them, they won't remember you. Give them a (positive) reason to remember you.

6. Follow up

When all is said and done, follow up with those who really made an impact on your experience. Thank them, even if via social media and let them know (or remind them if you already have) you want to stay in touch.


6 Surefire Ways to Stand Out at Any Conference or Networking Event - Taylor A Mead

As previously stated, this post contains affiliate links. For more information about Sponsors, please visit the Generation Tay's Disclaimer page.

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  1. Taylor! Thank you so much for this post. I also attended BlogHer and your tips are so informative. :)

    xoxo Deena Danielle

    1. I'm so happy they were helpful, Deena! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! Your blog is fabulous and I'm so happy we've connected over BlogHer! What a special conference it was!! Come back soon :) xo

  2. I'm hoping to attend the Her Conference in NY this summer, I'm planning on ordering business cards before I go!!
    xo, Syd

    1. Oh my goodness! YES! I'm hoping to go as well!!! Definitely try getting business cards if you do! They will NEVER hurt and can only make you look a little extra prepared/professional.

      xxoo, Taylor (thesprinkle.tayloramead.com)

  3. I love this can't wait to read more of your stuff

    1. That's so sweet of you, Jess! Thank you so much for reading! I will definitely stop by your blog :) xxoo

  4. No problem, enjoyed reading it! Please do and let me know what you think (:

    1. Left a comment on your most recent piece :)

  5. I always have my cards on me. You just never know when you will need to hand one out :)

    1. That's so so smart! I always told myself I would buy them, but I wanted to wait until I was in a fulltime position I knew I would be in for a while. I think my mentality after attending the conference has definitely changed! I ordered them the second I got home hahaha. Thanks for reading, Caroline!! Come back soon! xo

  6. I'm only starting out but I'll definitely keep these tips in mind. Thank you for this post

    1. Thank YOU for reading, Leolynn! Beautiful name, by the way :) I hope you find the tips helpful as you continue your journey!! xoxo

  7. Great advice! I just came back from my first blog conference last week and think I was prepared according to your post. I did give my business card to nearly everyone I spoke to, though. :/

    1. Aw yay! I'm so glad you were prepared!! And don't worry! I don't think there is any harm in giving your card out to everyone, it's just not always necessary! Either way, it's better to have them than not to, so I'm so glad you did!! What conference was it if you don't mind me asking? Thanks so much for reading, Stephanie!


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