Arriving at MIPTV for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience. I’ve been to well over 25 MIP Markets, and whether I’m seeing the same old faces or meeting new people, it’s always exciting and rewarding. It’s an investment of your time, and you might even feel that you get just one shot at getting what you want, so it’s totally normal to be a little nervous.
Here are some tips that will help you to get the most out of MIPTV, so you’ll go home with a big smile on your face, already thinking about coming back next year.
Don’t talk to strangers
You’ve arrived at MIPTV and you’re standing in a room full of people — strangers — some of whom might be valuable contacts. But which ones? You’re wondering how to break through that growing wall of ice that separates you from the people you want to get to know. Meanwhile, you watch the expert networkers glide effortlessly around the room, shaking hands and collecting business cards. Do you go home, disheartened, feeling that it was a complete waste of time? Or do you step out into the unknown and discover the secrets that will make you an outstanding networker?
In today’s competitive, online, globalised business world, the ability to make human contact is actually more important than ever. Tools that allow us to communicate electronically, instantly, twenty-four hours a day often form a barrier and comfort the people who avoid making a real and lasting impression on others.
What you need is out there, waiting for you. The person who you want to meet is waiting for you, waiting to shake your hand and hear all about you. What differentiates a successful person from a failure isn’t a brilliant idea or water-tight business plan, it’s simply the ability to network.
So, don’t talk to strangers. Instead, meet up with new friends.
Give them what they want
By all means, preparing your pitch is important. But preparing your audience is far more important. Instead of trying to cram as much as you can into a short, rushed meeting,begin each meeting with a question, like this:
“What can we discuss in the next half hour that will make your whole visit to MIP worthwhile?”
Now, whatever happens in the next half hour will be totally oriented towards your client’s needs and interests. You won’t have to think about getting their attention because you already have it. You won’t have to think about convincing them because you’re pitching to the converted. And at the end of it all, they might still say no, simply because it’s the wrong project, or the wrong time. What next?
“OK, I appreciate your opinion. I’d like to ask you two questions then. Firstly, who can you introduce me to who this would be right for, and secondly, how can you help me to improve my pitch so that I can be successful next time?”
After all, it’s the least they can do after all the effort you’ve put into preparing your pitch for MIP.
Love every minute
MIP can be tough. The meetings, parties, meetings, parties, meetings…. oh, and don’t forget to eat and sleep too!
Getting the most out of MIP isn’t about packing in as much as you can – it’s about focusing on the RIGHT things. Make sure that you go home feeling that you’ve been productive and not just busy by having a plan for what you want to get out of it, who you want to meet and why. Don’t be tempted to meet whoever you can, just for the sake of it. Don’t chase the big names if they’re not what you really need.
Focusing on what you want to achieve by going to MIP means you’ll achieve more, feel more productive, be happier and feel more energetic, so when you do meet someone who you’re excited to be in front of, you can show them your enthusiasm. Show them that you’re serious, committed and professional. Because, believe it or not, they can get party animals back home. What they came to MIP to discover is people who they can do business with.
I’ll be back
If you are serious about the time you’re investing in MIP, then as soon as you get back home, the real work starts. Write follow-up messages that thank people for their time, outline what you discussed and propose a next step.
Do this the very moment you get back, and refer to the brief notes that you made on the back of each person’s business card at the end of each meeting.
Paul Boross is the Pitch Doctor, an internationally recognised authority on communications, presentation, performance and “the art and science of persuasion”; and a MIP Markets regular, of course! Don’t miss him at the MIPTV First Timer Tour, April 6, 17.00 (meet outside Palais’ main entrance).