10 Tips For Maximizing the Mackinac Policy Conference

    Talk about Island life – few things in Michigan are as significant as the discussions that will take place during the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island.

    GerryWith thousands of professionals preparing to head to the upcoming Mackinac Policy Conference in a few weeks, Gerry Weinberg & Associates, a leader in executive, sales and management training for more than two decades, wants to help attendees make the most of the trip.

    From veteran attendees to first-timers, these tips from Gerry himself can help to make valuable connections and lasting impressions:

    1. Be Prepared – Do your research ahead of time to determine what companies or individuals may be attending that you want to target. Research LinkedIn profiles for key contacts for talking points or their pictures to help you point them out in a group.

    2. Set a Goal – Set goals for your activities ahead of time and track against them. How many key conversations do you want to have? How many meetings do you want to set up for during the conference?  How many introductions do you want to give to others?

    3. Develop a Strong Elevator speech – A strong elevator speech engages a person in things that might be important to them, not features and benefits about you. You should include who you are, and what problems you solve for your customers/clients. It could sound as simple as I am ___ and I help presidents and CEO’s who might be frustrated with ___ fill in the blank.  Avoid industry buzzwords, too many details about your company or bragging about yourself or your service/value. Remember it is about them not you.

    4. Use System for Business Cards – It is important to have a strategy for where you are storing your cards and where you are storing the cards you receive.  Consider a brief note taking classification for keep track of the quality of the introductions. For example, you could use an “A”  to represent a quality conversation to be followed up on  first, “B” A potential referral to someone you know who could help. “C”  to add to your drip marketing campaign database.

    5. Proper Name Tag Placement – Place the nametag on your right side. This allows for maximum sight while handshaking

    6. Firm Handshake – A “wimpy” handshake can give a negative first impression. Be sure to have a firm web -to-web handshake with good eye contact.  Gentlemen, the way you shake hands  with a woman is exactly the same as you give a handshake to a man.

    7. Connect on LinkedIn – Within 24-48 hours of having a quality conversation/introduction connect on Linked In.  Personalize the connection request by mentioning meeting at the Mackinac Policy Conference along with any highlights of things you discussed.

    8. Take Notes – It is likely you will interact with a large number of people throughout the conference. Don’t wait until the end of the day or conference to take your notes.  Periodically take time to capture those valuable conversations, key items you discussed and important next steps.

    9. Find a partner(s) – Find a connection who is also attending and offer to help them make connections. Find out what key people or demographics they are looking for and help them make connections. Chances are they will offer to do the same for you.

    10. Talk Less, Listen More – The focus of the conversation you are having should be on the person you want to get to know. You should be talking only 20-30 percent of the time. Ask engaging questions and use active listening to gather valuable information and to prove you hear and understand what they are saying.