My attendees are at my event for a reason. They believe in some shape or form that they'll leave with something new to consider or leave proving me wrong. Usually, it's the latter, but interestingly I've come to learn something quite important from my audience: start taking events more seriously!
We're currently working on a follow-up article for the 'Cyber: Not just an IT issue' last week where knowledge and lessons learned will be shared here, however, I want to touch on these events. Ask yourself why you go to events (or why you don't)? Perhaps we should start looking at them differently...
1) There is no such thing as networkingNetworking doesn't exist anymore. It's 2016 and the days of having to speak to someone face to face after you've just had your morning sales scrum have long gone (thank god). The expression of "this will be a good opportunity to network" makes my cringe a little. Would you introduce yourself to that Director or CEO with, "I was just wondering if I could network with you around Cyber?". Getting that out of your head will help you have better conversations that are more meaningful than you hoping to get a card and follow up meeting. The guy you're currently talking to doesn't want you to network with them, they want you to show some interest and ask some questions, then if he wants to know where you work - he'll ask! Besides, how many people do you think you'll get time to talk with at these events? Make the first one count!
2) Take drawings, not notesI spent a good 20 minutes on our Cybertalk going through my slides and all my tips and tricks on what to do. At the back of the room, a table was frantically taking notes. A great feeling for me but it wasn't very engaging - it's hard to bring listeners like that back to you when all they do is try and note word for word what you're saying. Chances are with most intimate events, you'll get the slides from the host anyway.
There is a way and it comes from a Marketing whiz in the UK, Karen Reyburn. Karen runs the Profitable Firm who provide marketing solutions for accountants. She is well known for her scribble/drawing note taking.
By simply doing a quick scribble in within organised chaos, it'll be enough for you to remember key lessons mentioned.
You'll easily cover off half a day's presentation on one page and it'll still be enough to refer back to in a few days.
3) Ask questionsWe run our events as an openly as possible. RiskLogic is very committed to being there to discuss solutions and unlike many other companies, we won't charge you for that sort of time either. You won't always be lucky enough to come to our events but you may go to others. Events are usually well titled and an agenda is sent out beforehand so you should have very little excuse to why you don't have questions beforehand.
At our Cyber event, we must have either covered literally everything to do with cyber, or our guests were too nervous to speak up. They did eventually of course, however, time was running low. On that stage, we had an experienced Partner of Deloitte, an Associate Director of cybersecurity, a leading BC Director and a Senior BC Consultant. The wealth of information from all of these people combined could quite possibly have been enough to solve cyber issues. So have questions ready to go for these people. It'll make you stand out in a more positive way to the room than you think - especially if you've spent ten minutes (not) networking with a few beforehand. This morning for my workshop, questions were encouraged and our tips were passed on, these people were able to head back to their office ready to talk plans.
4) Get to as many as possibleIf having a free breakfast and coffee isn't enough then have a think about your current knowledge base and contact lists. We're all trying to promote ourselves in some way and being seen everywhere, all the time is a way of proving you mean business. For me, I like people to know that there simply is no other organisation for Business Continuity than RiskLogic. Of course I'm a little bias there but I've met so many people now they believe it too.
I held my roundtable this morning at 10am - usually, the time you're getting your second coffee, it was central and trendy. I found that our guests were able to just pop in and have a quick chat; one of them even left mentioning "I need to go ask my boss if we have a cyber BC plan..." - yes you do, sir!
5) What's your next steps?Are you going to contact the presenters, do you need to talk to your boss, do you need to leave feedback or do you want to continue to follow up those leads? Whatever it is, you need to be thinking this before you've even left the room. As soon as you're into the office, action it. Leaving it too long will have it go further and further down your list.
At the BCI Summit in May, we saw hundreds come through and gather plenty of information and cards. We plan for an outcome and objectives in these events 2 months prior and ensure we target them, that way no matter what we've finished the day hitting some milestones.
The lesson here is that you can easily miss some crucial information that can help your business if you don't take events seriously, or if you're not turning up you may miss an idea that could change the way you work forever. Everyone knows they can take up your time and resource, but what else were you planning on doing to fill that two-hour window?
Over the next few months, we'll be holding Roundtable events that discuss anything Business Continuity. Our aim here is to centralise the information and professionals to all communicate their problems & solutions. You can join our forum now to receive updates and event news to hear more.