Got you with the title! My idea of speed dating is probably not what you thought of when you read the title, speed dating in my world is more like speed networking. In my main gig, networking is key and quite frankly, it is your connections that help you get where you want to go. I have realized in my side gig, my blog, the Journey of Julie , there is really no difference. The more I am immersed the more I see the similarities. I recently attended a blogger conference and was invited to a “speed dating” type of event for bloggers to meet with select brands for partnerships. I am not going to lie, it was intense! However, it made me think, what if we did the same for professionals? Here are my tips for preparing for such an event.
1- Be prepared with a pitch. This sounds simple but is it? Elevator pitch, do you have one? What are your stats? Do you even know where to find your stats- blog traffic, class rank, performance? Start there, if you were a company, what would you want to know about you and answer those questions. You should be able to in three (3), yes three minutes, give a snapshot of who you are and what you offer.
2- Understand it will be intense. This sounds simple as well but until you have been in a situation, you cannot truly be prepared for what this entails. In the case of looking for a job, attending a job fair, you walk up to each booth with its recruiter and introduce yourself. As a blogger trying to present to a brand the same thing happens. Know you will have sweaty armpits, you will be thirsty, and you will likely forget to breathe at some point. Just know it is ok and everyone else is likely feeling the same way.
3- Keep your energy levels up. I suggest practicing with someone who you trust and will give you honest feedback, not the person that just compliments you all of the time. This point means you need to be just as amazing with company or person number thirty as you have with number one. No one wants to speak to someone who is not excited to speak with them. You also never know, number twenty-nine may be your dream job or may be the funding for your project!
4- Don’t count out the little guy. I know it is exciting to land an interview with a company like Google or to nail a presentation with a brand like Nike but those opportunities may be few and may not be the best fit. The smaller company may offer you work-life balance or expedited growth. The micro-influencer may offer a more engaged audience. The smaller brand may offer a higher pay-out and loyalty in the relationship. Keep an open mind.
Young professionals, start-up folks, and anyone working to grow their personal brand can benefit from these tips. You really need to determine what sets you apart from the rest and leave everyone with a lasting impression. Allow your personality to show, hey, you can even create a tagline for yourself.
So, put on extra deodorant, don’t eat fiber the night before, drink some water and get out there!