As our team shifts back to in-person events, we realized the importance of preparation for these engagements. To help you feel more confident as you venture back into these events, Incite has prepared some tips to get you ready for your next in-person engagement:
1. Be yourself
It’s important to realize that a reduction in face-to-face contact for two years has changed the way people interact with one another. Be mindful in ensuring that the digital persona that people have been interacting with—whether that be through reading your content online or seeing you through a Zoom call—matches the individual standing in front of them. Take some time before you go to your next event and ask yourself, “How do I want others to view my personal brand?” and align the way you speak and handle yourself accordingly.
2. Practice communicating the value of your business beforehand
The purpose of practicing how you articulate your role and your organization’s differentiation or key value points will help ensure you are consistent with how you introduce yourself and how you position the unique value of your business. Practicing can be challenging if you are uncomfortable staring at yourself in a mirror or recording yourself but, we recommend taking the time to ensure you can share these important aspects in a natural way. Remember that the people you meet may be potential clients or influencers for your clients. If what you share is memorable, clear, and consistent, listeners will be more likely able to share your message with others in a way that is aligned with your narrative, ultimately amplifying your brand.
3. Watch your content
Being yourself does not mean that you should shout political opinions and ideas from the rooftops. Read the room. In some circumstances, these topics will be fine to bring up, and in others, less so. Feel out the conversation and proceed accordingly. Much like in a chat online, nobody likes getting their conversation hijacked by trolls so be mindful of what you are bringing to the discussion.
4. Body language
Everyone knows in theory that body language is an incredibly important piece of communication, however, it can be easily neglected by the communicator. In front of a computer screen, behavior like crossing arms, slouching, or glancing elsewhere was easy to miss or overlook. In-person, your body language delivers 55% of the message you are trying to communicate, so any bad habits you’ve made should be changed quickly. There is nothing more disenchanting in a conversation than when you are making eye contact, nodding, feeling like the conversation is going great and suddenly the person you are talking to starts darting their eyes across the room to show they have visibly left the conversation.
5. Active listening
Many are excited to be back at events and when attending, you’re likely to see other people you want to chat with while in the middle of a conversation. Instead of being caught by the distraction and devaluing the conversation at hand, practice your active listening skills by reiterating what is being said to you, asking relevant questions to whom you are engaging, and keeping the conversation going by giving them more to talk about. By doing so, you will be able to demonstrate your ability to stay present in the conversation and respect the individual you are speaking to.