The Philadelphia Candy Show is right around the corner. If you’ve been in the industry for a while, you’re sure to see a lot of familiar faces and are looking forward to catching up with old friends. Even the most seasoned trade show attendees can expect to meet a lot of new people, which means a lot of (sometimes awkward) small talk.
For some, networking comes naturally, but for others it can be paralyzing (and did I mention, awkward?). Here are some of our favorite tips from TheMuse that, with practice, will eventually earn you a black belt in networking. Feel free to first warm up your networking muscles with RCI at booth #413 at The Philadelphia Candy Show in Atlantic City, New Jersey August 30 – September 1, 2015.
1. Dress for Success
If you look great, you’ll feel great too!
- Wear something that makes you feel great.
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Don’t bring a large bag.
2. Set goals.
Setting goals will give you something to work towards. As you achieve your goals, you will build up confidence and get a lot practice in the process. Here’s some examples to get you started:
- Meet five new people.
- Learn something new.
- Start three conversations.
3. Have a few conversation starters in mind.
It’s not as intimidating to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger when you have a game plan. Start with the classics and once you’re warmed up, you may want to go for something a bit more fun.
- “Have you been here before?”
- “How did you get started in the industry?”
- “I’m just here for the carrot sticks, what brings you here?”
4. Get everyone’s business cards.
When it comes to making lasting connections, collecting business cards from acquaintances is just as important as passing out your own business cards.
- Take notes about each person you meet, their interests and your conversation.
- Follow up with a friendly email within 48 hours.
5. Use a non-awkward closer
- “It’s been so great chatting with you, but I have a few more people to connect with.”