Personal Brand Strategy: Events
Events come in every shape and size. You may organize them, volunteer to help out, or participate as an attendee. Most user groups are free to attend (thanks to sponsors), regional events can be low-cost, and even the major conferences can have hugely discounted rates if you register early or sign up through a vendor to receive a discount code. Pick the events that are right for you (and your budget), but get out there and spread your wings in the community.
Whether or not you have a product or service to promote, or are simply trying to network, events are a great way to observe the world and learn from others. The goal is to get out there and talk to people on a regular basis, sharing yourself and your ideas with anyone who will listen — and then take what you learn and apply it to your own strategy.
When I co-founded my first startup and served as CEO, I spent many a weeknight and weekend at various networking and funding pitch events, watching and taking notes on what I liked about the entrepreneurs I met, and making changes to my own elevator pitch and presentation. Do the same thing with your personal brand.
How do you get started? Some ideas include:
- Join (or start) a user group within your company.
- Join (or start) a user group within your local community.
- Start your own online community.
- Join any local business and technology organizations and leadership councils.
- Volunteer to help run local meetups, user groups, and community events.
- Attend (or host) a local networking event.
- Attend (or organize) a virtual event, webinar, or meetup.
- Attend larger business and technology events.
Most cities, towns and municipalities have business and technology-focused groups and events that are posted online or on the wall within the city center. Take an afternoon to skim through Meetup posts and find out what is happening within your community or region. And whatever event you attend, some things to remember that will help amplify your efforts:
- Bring a friend, a co-worker, a family member, or even your boss. It’s always easier to participate in new events when you have at least one friendly face within the crowd. Just don’t use that as a crutch to NOT get out there and mingle.
- Introduce yourself to someone new — every time you attend an event. This is fantastic advice that someone gave me at one of my first networking events, and I’ve always tried to practice this rule.
- Ask questions, make comments, and be an active and engaged participant.
Be sure to check out the other posts in this series: