Are you headed to an awards show or networking event soon? If so, listen up. Last month, the American Advertising Federation (AAF) of Cleveland held their ADDY Awards and literally rolled out the red carpet. They were fully-equipped with a camera crew, a photographer and correspondences to interview attendees. For real. This is the new approach to a hip and happenin’ business event.
Not all events have a red carpet. However, most notable events have a professional photographer to capture the moment. To avoid looking like a deer in headlights, apply these helpful tips at your next professional gathering:
#1. Loosen Up
You are an extension of your company’s brand. It’s important to uphold that image; however, you are a human outside of the office cubicle, so loosen up and relax! Smile. Joke. Laugh. Repeat.
#2. Play along with it
When in Rome, play like a Roman! If there’s a red carpet entrance at your next event, be ready to be greeted by lights, cameras and people. We all jump at the chance to put our business card in the fish bowl, because there’s an opportunity to win something. Enjoy the opportunity to experience something ‘outside the box.’
#3. Own what you got
Several interviewees were able to poke fun at their ‘JCPenney dresses’ or ‘hipster glasses’ because they had confidence. Dress appropriately in clothes that reflect you and your personality.
#4. Let your sparkle shine
As noted in tip number one, networking events are a great opportunity to hang with your peers outside the office. Stay away from all the business talk and enjoy getting to know people on a more personal level.
#5. Meet one new person
Whether you’re alongside other industry thought leaders or new business prospects, get to know someone new. Ask them a few questions to get the conversation moving. Do the typical business-card-exchange-dance and follow up with them in the next few days.
Maybe the next event you attend will have a red carpet; maybe it won’t. Regardless, use the opportunity to let your hair down and enjoy yourself! Oh, and look your best, because the cameras don’t lie, and neither does Facebook.