How To Effectively Network at a Conference

How to Network at a Conference
  1. Have Clear Goals and Objectives. …
  2. Stay In The Same Hotel as the Conference is Being Held. …
  3. Go Prepared. …
  4. Send an Email or Tweet Prior to the Event. …
  5. Avoid the Helicopter Approach. …
  6. Be Ready with Conversation Starters. …
  7. Don’t be a “Fan-girl” or “Fan-guy” …
  8. Create a Schedule.

It’s not surprising that many people experience social awkwardness when meeting new people after spending almost two years alone. For some people, navigating social situations comes naturally, but it’s not always that simple for others. If you belong to the latter category, your verbal and nonverbal communication abilities may be a little rusty. (And that’s okay because, let’s face it, the past two years haven’t been easy.)

How to Network Effectively at Conferences

Why is it important to network at a conference?

A great way to meet people in your field or industry is through networking. Conferences are excellent for networking because they offer a variety of advantages:

How to network at a conference

Follow these instructions to get ready for your next conference to network, strengthen relationships, and advance your career:

1. Have goals

Know what you want to achieve by attending the conference. If you’re looking for a mentor, think about the characteristics you want in a potential teacher. If you’re looking for a job, consider the company or position you want to hold before applying.

2. Stay on-site

The majority of conferences are held in sizable hotels or conference venues with attached lodging. If possible, stay on-site or in the conference-recommended lodging. Compared to staying somewhere else, you’re more likely to meet people, have casual interactions, and opportunities to build relationships.

3. Do your research

Learn about presenters, attendees and workshops before the conference. Choose the events you’re most interested in going to, the attendees you want to meet, and the businesses you want to get in touch with. You can make the most of your time at the conference by conducting research beforehand.

4. Make your presence known

Follow the conference hashtag before the event and make connections with other attendees on social media. Others might be curious if you or your company will be at the conference, just as you want to know who else is going. Online pre-communication makes face-to-face interaction at the event much simpler.

5. Be confident

When approaching a fellow attendee at the conference, be confident. Approach them smiling and in a cordial manner. Introduce yourself and state your specific reasons for wanting to connect with them. Theyll appreciate the ease with which you started the conversation.

6. Prepare conversation starters

Prepare a list of topics for conversation before you attend the conference. It’s much simpler to meet new people when you have a shared interest in a particular subject. Here are a few great conference conversation starters:

7. Stay present

While you may be concentrating on introducing yourself to new people, other attendees may be doing the same thing with you. When you can, put your phone and tablet away to remain present at the conference. If you aren’t texting or emailing, a potential new connection is more likely to approach you than if you are.

8. Be open

Prior to the conference, decide who you want to connect with, but be willing to talk to anyone who approaches you. You never know who you’ll run into, what connections they may have, or what job opportunities they may know about.

9. Have a plan

To make the most of your time, create a schedule for the conference. Build your schedule from the workshops, presentations, or forums you’ve already chosen. Set aside time to network, strengthen existing relationships, and gain knowledge of the industry.

10. Use social media

Often, conferences will have a website and social media presence. Utilize these resources to plan your time and communicate with other attendees online. You might meet someone online with whom you want to speak in person.

11. Look at name tags

Conference name tags often include the persons name and company. Use the name tags to pinpoint the people and businesses you want to meet and speak with. Ask new acquaintances about their jobs or introduce yourself by name to start a conversation.

12. Attend all the activities

Make the most of your time by attending as many formal and informal events and activities as you can. Along with the scheduled conference activities, you can meet up with other attendees for lunch, dinner after the final seminar of the day, and morning coffee the following day. Informal connections help build and develop professional networks.

13. Prepare an exit strategy

Some conversations may continue for longer than you expected. Prepare a few closing statements or exit strategies that you can use to respectfully wrap up a conversation. Here are a few to consider:

14. Use any apps

Some conferences, especially the big ones, have their own proprietary apps that assist attendees in navigating the conference’s numerous events and activities. Make the most of the conference by using the app to avoid missing any presentations or other events.

15. Bring your items

While out and about, keep a small bag or briefcase on you that contains a notebook, pen, business cards, water, snacks, and anything else you might need. By bringing your daily necessities with you, you can maximize your conference experience and reduce the number of trips back to your room.

16. Have business cards

Bring business cards to the conference and distribute them to new acquaintances. Business cards are frequently the best and simplest way to introduce yourself to new contacts. Before handing the card to your new connection, add a personal note to ensure they remember you.

17. Prepare a pitch

Prepare a pitch before the conference if you’re hoping to land a new job or attract new business. To determine whether the person or business is interested in what you have to offer, it should be succinct—just a sentence or two. You’ll be more confident and comfortable pitching at the conference if you prepare and practice beforehand.

18. Make offers

Instead of only asking others how they can help you, think about helping others. Inquire as to how you can help a new acquaintance meet people at the conference, with work projects, or with any other helpful assistance you can offer.

19. Take notes

During a multi-day conference, you might encounter hundreds of people. Keep a journal throughout the day to help you remember the people you met, the concepts that interested you, and any other key insights from the conference so you can put them to use when you get home.

FAQ

How do you network a conference without being awkward?

Conference Tips: How to Network
  1. Chat about the talks. …
  2. Write down additional information straight away. …
  3. Have a lot of conversations. …
  4. Join the event Facebook group. …
  5. Say ‘yes’ to off-site lunches with cool people. …
  6. Don’t be creepy. …
  7. Before you approach speakers, give them a moment to recover.

How do you network a conference alone?

7 Tips for Attending a Conference Alone (And Having a Good Time)
  1. Imagine that Other People are Shy too. …
  2. Homework First. …
  3. Leverage Technology. …
  4. Dress Comfortably and with Confidence. …
  5. Don’t Eat Lunch or Dinner Alone. …
  6. Pamper Yourself a Little. …
  7. Follow Up after the Conference.

How do students network at a conference?

A student’s guide to networking at professional conferences
  1. Be Prepared. Since conferences move quickly, making a schedule in advance is frequently advantageous.
  2. Present your research. A great way to interact with others is to present your research.
  3. Get involved. …
  4. Keep in touch.

How do you network at a big event?

9 Tips for Navigating Your First Networking Event
  1. Have a Goal. …
  2. Dress to Impress. …
  3. Bring Business Cards. …
  4. Make an Effective Introduction. …
  5. Listen First, then Speak. …
  6. Show Sincerity and Interest. …
  7. Get to the Point. …
  8. Take Notes.

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