Your mind is probably already buzzing with all the exciting presenters that you can learn from at the upcoming WordCamp conference you’ll be attending. But WordCamp isn’t just for learning new skills. One of the biggest perks of attending WordCamp is the opportunity to network with other WordPress professionals.
Not only can you learn a lot from meeting with your WordPress peers but it can even turn into collaborations on projects and advancements in your career. But networking can be daunting. What do you say? Who do you talk to? How can you make meaningful connections? Don’t worry, there are a number tips you can use to take yourself from networking newbie to networking pro.
Let’s get started, here’s how to make the most out of WordCamp with 8 networking tips to –
If you’ve never been to WordCamp before it can seem like there’s a lot going on and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So, if you want your networking to go smoothly, it’s important to be prepared beforehand. Before you head to WordCamp, make a list of all the developers you want to meet while you’re there, what type of questions you want to ask them, and any other important details you want to get across in conversations. That way your exchanges will go exactly the way you want them to.
Don’t forget to take notes after your conversations have ended as well. Write down who you talked to, what the outcome of your conversation was, and anything else that was memorable during the exchange. When you reach out in the future, people will be impressed you remembered them and your conversation so well.
Practice Your Elevator Pitch
There’s a lot of people to talk to at WordCamp and you have a limited time to make a good first impression on them and get across the gist of what you do. This is why crafting an elevator pitch is so important. Your elevator pitch should be:
- Short and sweet (about 60-90 seconds)
- Show your passion
- Show your expertise
- Practiced and memorized
You need to be able to rattle off your elevator pitch quickly but clearly and still keep it interesting. Practice your elevator pitch out loud in front of the mirror so that in the real-life networking situations you’ll encounter at WordCamp, your elevator pitch will be second-nature.
Look for Win/Win Opportunities
If your sole reason for attending WordCamp is to get more business for your company, then you’re not going to be successful at networking. Successful networking is not just about what will benefit your company; you need to look for win/win opportunities.
People aren’t going to want to connect with you if there’s nothing in it for them. For instance, instead of focusing on getting more clients for yourself, look for good integration partners or guest posting opportunities. Don’t just think about how one of your peers can help you out, think about how your relationship can benefit both parties.
While you don’t want to spend all of WordCamp attached to your phone, a little time on social media will step up your networking game. Twitter is probably the best social media platform to leverage during WordCamp. Each WordCamp has its own hashtag so you can easily search the hashtag to see what other professionals are attending and what’s going on in other tracks.
Crafting your own tweets using the WordCamp hashtag will also maximize your visibility with other attendees. So tweet leading up to, during and after WordCamp so you have more chances of connecting with your peers.
Take Advantage of Breaks
During breaks at WordCamp like the lunch break, it might be tempting to go decompress off in a corner by yourself or check in with your office, but don’t. Lunch is a great time to make connections and really get to know your WordPress peers.
And don’t feel like you have to go to every session. If you choose to skip a session, go hang out in a common area and chat with other attendees. Breaks are a great time to relax and have more laid-back conversations that could turn into great business opportunities.
Reach Out Right Away
By all means, stock up on business cards before you arrive to WordCamp and hand them out to people to want to connect with. But don’t wait for them to send you an email, reach out right away so they remember you.
After you’ve had a great conversation with a fellow WordPress professional, give them your info but ask for their information as well. Then tell them that they can expect an email from you in their inbox right away. That way you’ll be at the top of their mind when they check their email, instead of your business card getting lost in a pile with all the others.
Believe in Yourself
Imposter syndrome can be hard to beat but you’ve got to do it if you want to be successful at networking. Hanging out at WordCamp can be intimidating; there’s a ton a talented people in one room and it’s hard not to compare yourself to other. But you’ve got to believe in yourself because you’re worthy of being in that room too.
Whether you’re a blogger, a developer, a designer or a hobbyist; the professionals you look up to are there to connect with you. You’ve got something to offer and if you truly believe that while networking, you’ll make a much stronger first impression and you’ll be able to get your ideas across more effectively.
Now that we’ve got you covered with these tips for networking like a pro at WordCamp, don’t forget to have fun! At WordCamp you’ll learn a lot and make lasting meaningful connections that will boost your skills and career — but only if you take a deep breath and relax a little.