Thanks stopping by to another edition of One Simple Thing. To be completely honest, this is a simple thing that I still haven’t gotten great at, but I’m learning. This isn’t specifically a tech or AV thing, but understanding this will help in what we do. Also, I’m learning from the best.
The simple thing this week; Be Bold. Specifically, be bold with vendors, installers, manufacturers and whoever else you come in contact with at a conference. I wouldn’t call myself an introvert, but I’m definitely not an extrovert either. It’s not quite in my nature to go and chat someone up or make a connection. Networking isn’t really my strong suit.
Here’s the difference with conferences though; that is why they are there. All those vendors, manufacturers, etc. spent a lot of money to have presence at that conference specifically to meet with attendees. To meet with people like you and make that connection. It can be tempting to go to a training or walk the show floor without making contacts, thinking they don’t want to talk to you. They do. And talk a while. And make a connection.
This is coming fresh off of my first InfoComm experience. I have done conferences before and have just been a spectator, maybe only talking to specific vendors I’ve been meaning to see. I went into InfoComm with a different mindset. I wanted to meet people and not only learn about what their gear is and what they do, but to just discuss the industry in general. It’s amazing how the little tidbits of information you get and relationships you can create by just having a conversation. It doesn’t have to be about anything specific, just enough information to make that connection. The specific, or even important, conversations can come later. But this way you’ve made the contact and know who to call when the time comes, instead of starting from scratch when you already need something.
I mentioned I’m learning from the best, and that is Joe Way. He is the host of the Higher Ed AV Podcast (https://higheredav.com/) and a colleague of mine. He knows just about everyone. And those he doesn’t know he has zero hesitation to meet. But he didn’t start out knowing close to everyone. He had to make those connections over a long career. A recurring theme of his podcast (and with conversations in general) is that it’s all about relationships. A lot of people have a good product or service, but having a relationship where a vendor understands the needs of the client and what they are really looking for can be what gets someone a customer or not. This is why a vendor wants to talk to you, and why you should want to talk to them. Be bold about it. They want to talk to you.
Also, it’s a great way to get a free dinner or two.