May 19, 2016

The After Talk

The applause has died down and you accomplished what you set out to do; brand yourself as an expert. This branding will last only a little while after your talk if you don't engage afterwards. You just had a conversation with a group of similarly minded industry professionals and the best thing you could do is listen after the talk. There will be people who'll come up to you and compliment you on your talk. Give sincere "thank yous"and ask one question, "what resonated with you?" Believe it or not this will open up your world to another level of social connection. This person, and others that approach you the same way, wanted to further their connection to you and by genuinely asking them their thoughts you have now positively branded yourself as a caring professional. That's what draws people to others.

There will also be some who will want to challenge your talk, giving their take on the subject that most likely will counter your factually imprinted opinions. This is where you can truly seize the moment. Listen, ask your own questions, being careful not to be provocative. Give them your card and ask them to send you more information. Explain that all sides need to be explored in order for a good conversation to become a productive conversation. You are always eager to learn. Maybe, just maybe, you will.

In between those two types you will find people simply smile at you and nodding their greetings; smile and nod back and feel good. You are the focal point.

Now, and this is so important, follow up after the evening is all said and done. Contact your host which in this case is the HBA president and the executive officer. Let them both know how appreciative you are to have been given this opportunity AND that you'd be more than happy to write an article for their HBA newsletter to place in print your talk, giving further insight, which will benefit those who didn't attend but also gives you a second bite at the apple, meaning those that heard your talk. I guarantee you you they will accept your offer.

I will go a step further in the after talk follow up; I would ask for a list of those who attended, maybe the EO will be kind and give you the attendees email addresses. Make your professional outreach to the attendees, individually. Do not sell your product or service; sell your talk and your desire to find out more about what appeals to them. This gives you fodder for your next talk. Also, as part of your email, ask them if they'd accept a LinkedIn invitation from you so you can further your networking world. Not everyone will respond and that's "OK." Successful people will respond. 
You now have developed a personal brand most people will never achieve, most likely because they were afraid to try. Fear is a feeling some can't suppress while while others attack it. Those who attack either conquer fear or they learn to control it. Me? I like knowing I can control but having it present keeps me alert. It's all in how you see yourself.

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP    


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