Some people are extroverted and some people are not. Both types of people enjoy being entrepreneurs, however not both types of people enjoy attending events and doing the networking thing (or as I used to call it, cruising with intent). Here are my Vermont PR tips as to why attending events is important and how to maximize event attendance if you are not an extroverted person...
Why Event Attendance is Important:
1.) It is another form of marketing yourself; but just like using social networking and finding newsworthy items to use in news editorial, it's not direct marketing. Attending events are another place to help share your brand, not your services. In other words - share who you are as a person.
2.) Attending events keeps your presence in check and keeps you on people's radar.
3.) It is also important to understand that attending events is not to land business from giving out a business card. Attending events is to help build relationships and it is best to NOT talk about your business but to share positive news of others in the industry.
Tips on Attending (Especially if You Are Shy):
1.) Find an extroverted friend in a similar industry or with similar clients and hang out with them! DO NOT go with another shy person!
2.) Attend events that personally interest you - not just ones you think you have to attend.
3.) Look into the event before you go - who attends, what news surrounds the event, and what news surrounds those who attend. Then you will be prepared with some conversational pieces.
4.) Wear something that starts a conversation - a shirt with a message, a groovy scarf, a fun tie - don't try to just blend in, show a little bit of your personality with some form of flair which can be great conversation starters.
A recent event I attended was the Vermont Hospitality Council's Gala at The Essex. My fiance is a gem and actually enjoys attending work related events which turns many networking types of events into dates for us - it makes it much easier to be a person then than "Rachel Carter PR." Below are a few photos from the events. More photos can be seen on Facebook and for the 2009 award winner, please click here.