The types of events you attend shape your personal branding.
I know you’re part of at least one group that has something to do with networking. And you also get asked a lot to attend major or minor events. It sometimes feels overwhelming and you can’t decide which events to attend. I’ll give you this tool to make a quick yet informed decision of which of all the events will really be the productive one for you. At the beginning of my networking career, you could find me on so many different events. I couldn’t even count how many events I’ve attended, who invited me, and what type of people I have met there. My lack of focus became very obvious when someone commented on Facebook: “Mark is everywhere.” I know they did mean well. Still it opened my eyes to one thing: I didn’t want to brand myself as the jack-of-all-trades you meet everywhere. That simply is not the message I wanted to convey.
Branding in focus
So I decided to take control of the matter at hand. As an immediate measure I drastically wanted to reduce the number of events I would attend. After that I carefully selected which events I should go to. To help me decide I’ve set up this checklist. Feel free to make it your own. These are just my thoughts and priorities.
- What type of event is it? It should be primarily networking focused.
- Who will I meet there? I wanted to see sought after thought leaders while also reconnecting with people I already knew.
- What is it all about? Forums of forward thinking folks. No lamenting about the past. No club-centred talks all the time.
- Business aspect? Is it going to help my business out?
Looking at this list it should be quite easy to check if an event fits your bill and the quality you’re after. I wanted to brand myself as a forward thinking businessman with an understanding of global issues and a solution based thinking using technology. So I’ve checked every invitation coming my way if it did have anything to do with the kind of branding I was after. Over time I got connected to many of the people occupying these spaces. And that at an accelerated pace when comparing it to my previous period of aimlessly attending each and every event. People around me now know I’m not a jack-of-all-trades but you can find me leaning towards the entrepreneurial / startup / tech kind of events rather than a political gathering or a panel discussion.
Events shape your brand
My point is: The events you attend will undoubtedly shape your brand. The kinds of people you meet at those events are often your future connections and therefore play an influential role in your future network. The message you send through attending an event is that you can identify with the topic and you have some kind of relationship with it. An even stronger message you can send to brand yourself through events is by giving a talk! You may have noticed that I sometimes use the words brand, network, connection and event only loosely based on their original meaning and I hope to still bring my point across. Thank you so much for taking your time reading this. I sure hope it will be useful in shaping your brand and network looking forward. You should follow me on twitter here.