Networking at Conferences
Whether you are boisterous and outgoing, or reserved and introverted, networking at conferences can be a surprisingly straightforward endeavor to assist with your recruiting strategy. The goal is, of course, to build new relationships with presenters and other business people at events, in the hope of uncovering new opportunities, and also have valuable contacts in the future. But just how do you build a meaningful relationship at conferences?
The first step in any successful networking strategy is to start early. Research the companies involved at the conferences you are attending in advance, paying attention to their background, mission statement, and achievements. Visit websites and social media pages to obtain contact information, either for the presenters themselves or for one or two of the top executives you would like to connect with. Establishing a relationship with prospective networking partners in advance, making an effort to inform them that you’re anticipating their presentation or meeting at the event, always helps.
At the event, make a point to introduce yourself to the presenter or any other attendees that you have been corresponding with in advance. Since conference attendees have limited time, your advance introduction will better help you secure time commitments during conferences. You may also want to make a list of main points you want to share beforehand, and be prepared to discuss these key points with the limited time available. Again, being prepared will help you gain the most out of your attendance at any key industry event.
After the conference, it’s pivotal that you continue to keep correspondence with attendees that you have interacted with. Immediately follow-up with key contacts via email, connect on networking sites such as LinkedIn or any other networking platform. Keep correspondence top of mind by following up after each event. Periodically find reasons to connect with new contacts. This can be as simple as sharing an interesting industry article, to requesting follow-up meetings.
The process of networking and building new relationships at conferences is much more complex than simply walking up and introducing yourself. However, if you take steps to prepare in advance and do the necessary research, as well as follow-up post-event with new contacts, you will be better able to form lasting relationships.
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