Being Bruce -: Networking Event Tip #19 - Take Photos, Maybe Videos

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Networking Event Tip #19 - Take Photos, Maybe Videos

This tip is one that bears a bit of caution. One way to meet people, to be noticed yourself, and to have a lasting reminder of networking events and who attends them is to take photographs during the event. It's not uncommon of course for people to take photos of each other but it's a little less common for someone walking around shooting the whole event. I do it, and if it's not too noisy will sometimes record short headshot video clips as well, but I make a point of letting the host and organizers know I'm going to do it and that I'll also blog about the event (see tip #20).

The hosts are usually appreciative about my taking shots and it's not uncommon for them or others to ask for copies of the image files (this usually happens after the fact - I never offer to send image files to everyone involved, just that I'll send them a link to the blog post).

Guests who don't know me will often ask me why I'm taking photos, especially if I ask them to stop for a second to look at the camera. I'm a guy and women are the most cautious, but a quick explanation that I blog about networking events in our area generally sufffices.

The point of taking the shots is to capture a record of who was there. If you're also going to blog it's a great idea to take notes on a 3x5 card or the backs of business cards. Also, if someone asks me specifically not to photograph them, I always comply (who knows, could be witness protection program?). Usually people out marketing for their businesses at networking events are more than happy at any opportunity for notice and potential free "press", even on a private blo. I do make a point of not publishing photos that are uncomplimentary, though occasionally I'll hear that someone isn't happy with a photo I thought was just fine.

There are two more reasons I shoot photos at networking events. One, I ask people to smile and there's something chemical that happens automatically when people smile and you smile back at them (that's 'smile' guys, not 'leer'), so it's a friendly way to say hello. Two, photographing network events has become one of my signatures at events (see tip #29). Also, I do it so often that even when I go to an event for the first time where I don't even know anyone I feel so natural doing it others usually accept it without hesitation.

Often I'm not the only one shooting events and sometimes there's a professional working the event. I haven't had any problems with that because I don't sell my photos or make any effort to publish them in the regular press - plus I use a tiny digital camera while the pros use larger more capable cameras, so I don't pose a threat.

I encourage you to take a digital camera in your pocket and at least get a few shots of people you spend time talking with. Because I use SendOutCards in my marketing, I love to follow up with a card within a few days of an event with a photo of the event or even the person I'm mailing it to on the front of the card.

This post is one in a series on how to make the most of in-person networking events. If you're going to go (and I suggest you do if your business benefits from relationships), you might as have the most fun possible and give and receive the greatest benefits from the occasion.

If you know of a networking event in the greater Wilmington Area [which means to me anywhere from Topsail Island, NC to North Myrtle Beach, SC] that's open to visitors, drop me a note ahead of time and I'll try to post it.