10 tips to get the most out of events and networking tips
I confess events were my vocation for many years - exhibiting at 35-40 large conferences and events p/a all over Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Crazy, exhausting, fun times. Face-to-Face events, conferences, and conventions are a great way to gain valuable insights into new teaching methods, e-learning, and EdTech solutions and glean a wealth of knowledge from the breakout sessions and keynote speakers.
But, by far the main advantage of attending a 'real-world' event over a hybrid or virtual event is the human-to-human opportunity of networking with some of the top professionals in your industry, and access to potentially hundreds of ideal clients, and partners in one place.
10 quick #Tips to help you get the most out of your next networking event
1. Prioritise your time. Time is your most valuable asset in life and the same is true about events - have a basic event plan in place to help you focus on your core objective(s).
2. Research and profile: Focus on best-fit companies, match them with the attendee list, and identify the folks you want to speak to F2F on the stand.
3. Schedule: Be efficient, and pre-book as many meetings as you can, but allow time for networking, keynotes, and seminars (all learning and conversation opportunities)
4. Name lists: If it's a midsized or small event, organisers often pre-publish attendee lists. Exhibitors tend to get the privilege of list access before the events. If you can access the list before the event, research, and connect before the events. Be creative.
5. Event apps: Networking and scheduling via an app such as Whoova. Make sure you update your profile, don't spam, be strategic, take as many notes as you can, and focus on your event plan objectives and ideal personas.
6. Get there early, stay late. There's more opportunity, and time for networking before the day gets busy, and afterwards when people relax with a drink in hand. Oh, and comfortable shoes!
7. Business cards and LinkedIn: I have stacks of thousands of business cards stashed at the back of my desk drawer. Do we need them? Maybe? Yes? Perhaps. But, I use the quick and easy LinkedIn QR code connect function - for a far more engaged network.
8. Don't be a wallflower. You can be certain that a large percentage of people will be 'hiding' to some degree and will welcome a chat. Be authentic and polite, and have a non-cheesy elevator pitch, a few topical conversation points, and open-ended questions. Don't be afraid to share things about yourself - this helps win trust and build connection. Here's good some good networking tips from Tedx.
9. Play the infinite game. Really great advice here from Simon Sinek - keep perspective, and make sure you're playing the right 'game' on the day. Keep in mind that you're unlikely to close six-figure deals on the day, and with someone you've only just met. That takes the pressure off. Focus on being authentic - building the relationship, builds trust, which builds success.
10. Followup! Aside from being there in the first place, post-event follow-up is the most important part. Here are a few tips
Follow up within 24 hours if you can - keep
Recap the conversation and be sure to be genuine in your thanks.
Offer to help - help them get what they want - build favour, trust and resist the cheesy sales pitches or being pushy.
You might ask to meet up - suggest a time for a coffee, an event, or a quick video call to continue the conversation.
Connect on LinkedIn, if you haven't already.
Remember, we're playing the infinite game.