Tips to Maximize Networking at Your Next Conference
Chances are there is at least one trade show, convention or industry conference on your business calendar this year. Attending work related events can be useful if you approach them the right way or a waste of time and money if you’re not prepared. Choose wisely when deciding what conference(s) to attend then try a few of these conference networking tips to help make the most of your event:
Networking Before the Conference
- Read through the agenda and decide what sessions and networking events you want to attend. When reviewing the agenda, consider your company/organization goals as well as your personal development or professional goals and choose those that are most relevant for you.
- Find out who will be attending and make a list of anyone with whom you would like to meet. Attempt to schedule some meetings in advance even if it’s just for an informal cup of coffee.
- Refresh your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles and be sure you have plenty of business cards.
- Start following the event hashtag on Twitter at least 30 days in advance, be sure to tweet the organization putting on the event and begin following other attendees – especially those desired contacts on your list.
Networking During the Conference
- If there is a vendor exhibit, make a list of people and companies with whom you want to speak.
- Be approachable and don’t be afraid to approach others. Don’t spend time in between sessions making calls or checking emails on your phone. When meeting new people, focus on listening – not just talking.
- Be prepared to network – have your elevator speech prepared (a one sentence description of you or your company that is quick and intriguing) and hand out your business cards.
- Use Twitter – tweet interesting information that is being shared and follow other sessions that you might not be able to get to.
Networking After the Conference
- Prioritize your follow-up efforts. Be sure to connect with those you met in person through LinkedIn, via email or with a hand-written card.
- Share what you liked and what you learned.
Lastly, download the conference app to enhance your experience before, during and after the conference! These apps allow you to access conference information, receive alerts, real time communications and locate exhibitors or meetings rooms.