OK, like those ads for the well-known insurance comparison site, I’m confused. And, just like…
Before the must-attend event for anyone in HR or recruitment held by Firefish on 1st June – The Future of Recruitment – here is a really useful guest blog on what you should be doing to get the most from recruitment events by Megan from Firefish – https://uk.linkedin.com/in/meganmcburnie
There are a lot of recruitment events on the calendar, so much so that we’re often left spoiled for choice, trying not to double book ourselves with events at opposite ends of the country. So how do you make sure all the hassle is worth it? The last thing you want to do is regret your choice or wish you’d stayed in the office working on some deals. If you’re making time for events, they need to be delivering; whether that’s great new contacts, ideas or an innovative new concept to take your business to new heights. The team at Firefish have spent a lot of time on the industry events circuit as speakers, attendees, and hosts (check out our Future of Recruitment event) so I’ve compiled our top tips to help you prepare like a boss.
Social media can and will be a saviour when it comes to prepping effectively for your next event. Follow the event hashtag– this is normally found on the Eventbrite, any correspondence you receive, or on the host’s website – and get in on the pre-event buzz. Find out who else is going, use LinkedIn or Twitter to do some research on fellow attendees, and identify who you want to network with or meet on the day. Create an event list on Twitter where you can see everyone you’re intending to connect with on the day, and really get a feel for them as a person. Make the list private if you want to keep your snooping a secret or if you make it public, fellow attendees will get a notification and know you’re keen for a meet-up.
Social media will be of great value when the event starts. If the event doesn’t have a #tag then search the event name and find mentions. Perhaps there was a talk you couldn’t get to or a colleague who was interested in attending but had to stay behind? Keep up-to-date via Twitter. The live updates will ease your FOMO (that’s fear of missing out, by the way). Join in the conversation and add your thoughts to what was discussed – this builds your credibility and lets people know you’re in attendance and clued up.
Themes & Topics
Event themes and speaker’s topics are often pre-published as part of the event marketing campaign, so don’t delete that email or scroll past the tweet. Oftentimes, bigger events will have multiple speakers on at once so you’re going to have to decide which talk you’re most interested in attending. Think about why you’re at the event and which topic is most relevant to you.
Perhaps you’re the only person attending from your office? If you find yourself representing the company, consider which topics are relevant to your colleagues as well. Attend on their behalf and bring back information that benefits them also.
If your two favourites are on at once, or if you can only attend for half the day – ask the organisers if notes/slides will be made available afterwards. You can also monitor the other topics on social media (see above).
Finding out topics before the event also allows you to come up with questions that you can ask the speaker or panel – if the opportunity arises – which aid your further understanding and help you form opinions and get extra information which benefits you.
Representing Brand You
You may not be on the official speakers’ line-up, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be pitching at the event. Industry events are rife with serial networkers and those who attend to make contacts to further their business, not just to enjoy the free lunch or speakers on offer. Don’t be caught off guard! Have a small pitch prepared about you and your business – something which highlights what you do, your main services, and your achievements. Show the other attendees that you are confident in yourself and the services you provide. So instead of “Eh… hi, I’m- um- Megan and I do marketing stuff at Firefish. We’re…er, growing…”, you’d say “Hi, I’m Megan and I’m in charge of expanding the brand at Firefish Software through digital marketing and engagement. We just won an award for technology innovation, did you hear?” This then opens the conversation to further questions and saves you from coming across as too nervous, rude or closed off.
As someone with a stammer that heightens in social situations, I find a two-line pitch to be a lifesaver.
Will your competitors be there? Sorry buddy, it looks likely – especially if this is a big industry expo or industry awards dinner or something. We all have competitors and while you’re aware they exist when trying to close deals against them in the office, don’t let their presence have you shakin’ in your boots in person. There’s a lot you can learn from seeing your competitors operate in the flesh; watch how they work the room, the introductions they make, attend their talks… You may find inspiration in what they do well, or learn how not to do business. Seeing your competition in action with a front row ticket will teach you more than industry gossip on the grapevine ever will. Keep competition between you healthy, however. Don’t engage in ‘banter’ in the run up to your meeting and keep things clean and amiable.
You never know, having them there might force you to bring your A-game and the added pressure could spur you on.
Industry events can be as enjoyable as they are informative- you’ve just got to be smart and get the most out of them.
About the Author:
Megan takes care of everything branding and communications related at Firefish. When she’s not in the office, Megan will most likely be found watching rugby, playing golf or at a gig in one of Glasgow’s brilliant music venues.