Let’s face it, events and conferences make for an awkward time, especially during the mandated cocktail hour where everyone is expected to socialize and network with other people. These get-togethers can be especially painful for introverts and those who are not adept in making small talk.
Despite these, there is no doubt that such gatherings serve as a venue not only for widening one’s social and professional network but also for learning more about the industry and what individuals like you could offer.
Industry trends and the current landscape are often discussed at these conferences and seminars.
As a professional, it is your duty to stay on top of these trends and engage with your peers. To maximize your time at these events, a carefully thought out plan should be observed. Take a look at how you can take a proactive approach at these happenings.
• Show Genuine Interest
Often, individuals go about networking with one thing in mind – securing their own interests. This already puts the other party at a disadvantage, especially when you are steering the conversation to yourself or your business. Tailor your pitch specifically for the type of conference as this will strike a chord with other attendees.
To start on a good note, it’s best to come in with an open mind. Show genuine interest in your colleagues and what they do by asking about their work. In discussing what they do and the challenges they face in the industry, you can extend a helping hand and connect with them beyond a superficial level. Whether it’s directly helping them or relaying their concerns to someone who can address their problems, this will certainly earn you good points in their book.
• Find Out Where You’re Comfortable With
Networking may seem challenging and intimidating for everyone. Don’t be pressured to put yourself out there just because people are mingling. Instead, find your niche and work at a comfortable pace. Do this by determining the person you truly want to talk to and connect with and approach them rather than jumping out and mingling with the first group of people you see.
Start small and engaging on a more intimate level lends more advantages. A one-on-one talk or a rather small group might play to your advances as this allows you to get to know the other party better instead of moving your attention from one person to another. Apart from asking about their business or what they do, you may also start by finding some commonalities. This allows you to establish a connection for which you can set up your groundwork and eventually steer the conversation towards business and personal opportunities.
• Build Your Social Network and Follow Up
In a time where social media reigns supreme, you can bet that these seminars and conferences have a designated hashtag or app which you may be required to use. Take advantage of these platforms and build your social network throughout the event – from sharing photos and videos to airing your insights, these tools are here to help.
What most individuals forget is that they have to follow up even after the seminar. What better way to do so than following and reach out to each other than on social media, right? These reaffirm that your real-life connection is not lost and that you remember the meaningful connections you have made. While you’re at it, make sure to capture their data and get their business cards.
Events and conferences are a great way to network. Armed with these sensibilities and tips, you can now invest your time and money wisely to seminars that offer your skills and business the chance to grow. By extension, in following these strategies, you can effectively build your professional relationships and ensure meaningful connections in the long run.
https://hbr.org/2020/02/build-a-network-even-when-you-dont-think-you-need-one?ab=hero-subleft-3 https://hbr.org/2015/07/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-conference https://www.scienceofpeople.com/conference-networking/ https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/08/07/make-the-most-of-your-networking-events-with-these-13-tips/#74f0683a230e