Make the Most of Conferences Through Better Networking
Making the most of conferences and other professional gatherings can be a boon your career.Great professionals are great networkers, so taking advantage of organized networking activities is a must. Dave Kerpen, Founder and CEO of Likeable Local, wrote a piece for LinkedIn about how professionals and entrepreneurs can maximize their time at conventions to become networking powerhouses. Below is a sampling of his advice.
Do your research.
Before a conference, take a look at the list of speakers and the attendee list, if possible. Get an idea of who you might want to spend time with at the conference and then reach out via email or social media. An email or tweet can get the ball rolling with a high profile individual who may be in demand at the function. Identify some areas in which you might have something to offer them and display that as showing of goodwill. Try to set aside some time to meet beforehand to avoid the jostling for attention that can happen at a conference.
Play hooky every so often.
If you are at a conference to network, it might be worth your time to ditch a few panels to hang out in the breakroom. This is a great place to get some face time with speakers who are just arriving, or other busy attendees taking a breather. Kerpen recommends also taking advantage of the break times scheduled by the conference, but suggests that networkers take a moment to themselves every so often.
Be a collector of business cards.
Some people go to conferences and hand out business cards to whomever will take them. Kerpen suggests that it is best to collect the business cards of the people with whom you wish to remain in contact. Instead of handing out business cards and leaving the ball in the other person’s court, take their information and be proactive in seeking them out after the conference is over.
Make your questions count.
Kerpen suggests that those looking to network ask more in depth questions to learn more and make a bigger impression. Questions like “Who is your inspiration?” have more of an effect on people than questions like “What do you do?” Asking meaningful questions and listening carefully to the answers is a great way to make connections and lasting partnerships.
Kerpen wears orange sneakers. It is a way of making him identifiable and stand out in a crowd. Make a conscious effort to make yourself memorable to the people you meet at a conference and they are more likely to engage when you reach out later on.
To read the full article, head over to LinkedIn.