Connecting Before Conferences

February 17, 2017

As you’re gearing up for business vacations, retreats, and conferences this year, we’re sharing tips for connecting with speakers and attendees ahead of time to build relationships and get on someone’s radar who you might admire.

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"Knowing that there are people there who know who you are, can do a lot for making a speaker feel comfortable."
- Kathleen Shannon


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Emily Thompson 0:02
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Kathleen Shannon 1:20
Alright, Caitlin, what do you have for us?

Caitlin Brehm 1:23
Okay, this question comes from Lindsey in the clubhouse. She says, Hey, everyone, I have a conference question. Before you go. Do any of you context speakers that you adore? to let them know you can't wait to meet them? Or is that to fan girlish? Does that call me initial meeting or make you look cray cray? And I also kind of want to expand this question. Obviously, focus on contacting speakers. But going beyond that cut contacting people who are also attending just as attendees, people you might admire who know you, or you know, have followed. One of the things that I was really impressed about at being last Miami actually it was one of the attendees had clearly done her homework and had researched everybody at least enough to kind of say, Oh, hey, you're Caitlin, you do this? What are you working on right now? And it just felt so nice to be like, Oh, you, you, you kind of know who I am. And it kicks off the conversation in a great way. So with our new being boss vacation announcement coming up, what are some of your suggestions for connecting?

Kathleen Shannon 2:31
Yeah, just so you guys know, we are about to announce our being boss vacation, which will be in the fall of 2017. It's going to be in New Orleans. If you want in on this, make sure that you sign up for our newsletter list because we are releasing it to our subscribers first. Okay, whenever it comes to letting a speaker know that you adore them and can't wait to meet them. As someone who has spoken at conferences, it really puts me at ease knowing that people are interested in hearing what I have to say I remember even a couple of club house members. Were at the last conference that Emily and I were speaking out of venture pop, and just being able to look at them because they had contacted me in advance and see their smiling faces. Whenever I got nerves, I could just look at them in the face and speak directly to them. Like it is actually so helpful to know that you have people in the audience rooting for you, rooting for you, and that you can kind of like make yourself a fool in front of that. It's all good. I would say that I think the best way to contact someone in advance is over social media like on Instagram and saying, Hey, I heard that you're speaking at this thing can't wait to meet you. I wouldn't maybe send them an email that might just be a little not too fan girlish but just that anyone who's speaking at a conference is probably super busy. I mean, maybe if they're sending out a newsletter, you can hit reply and say can't wait to see you at this conference. But I think the best way to like start that engagement is over social media. What do you think, Emily?

Emily Thompson 3:57
I agree. I've heard lots of stories of you know, people who go speak at conferences who are like just as nervous and scared as you might be if you are invited to speak at a conference. And knowing that there are people there who know who you are just very basically can do a lot for for making them feel comfortable where they are. So absolutely doing that. And then likewise, getting in touch with people who are going to be at the conference with you, I think is super powerful. All of the best times that I've had at conferences, were because I was meeting people who I had had contact with before the conference. So whether it was someone that I was following a following on Instagram or social media, who I saw was going and I ended up saying I'm going to can't wait to see you there. Or we're friends who I decide to drag along with me or whatever it may be. It's definitely like making those connections and relationships real by meeting face to face that sort of makes those events for me. So I think doing some homework, looking around your social network to see who else is going to these things. Reaching out to speakers that you are excited to see is a very important part of further investing in these conference occasions.

Kathleen Shannon 5:21
One thing I want to add, though, whenever it comes to fangirling out on speakers that you admire, definitely go up to a speaker that you want to meet before or after they speak and just let them know that you liked what they said. Or maybe pick out a part that you have a question about, like speakers love getting questions afterward, to really be able to dig in with somebody. So don't be afraid to do that. Like that's what they're there for. That's what they're getting paid for. So feel free to go up to them afterward and fan girl out all you want. Like that's totally appropriate. One other thing I want to mention with conferences, is if you end up skipping a few sessions to like, go have drinks or lunch with a few creative pals that you've made. That is also totally cool. I've made some of my best and favorite creative relationships at conferences, by skipping panels and just going and having like really genuine conversations. I remember even jealous curator Danielle chrissa. Like that's how we became friends was skipping a session and going and having lunch together and just getting real. So don't be afraid to do that with your fellow attendees as well.

Emily Thompson 6:34
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