Going to a conference solo or with a group can feel like it wasn’t worth the time if the opportunity to meet people is not utilized properly. It is called a Conference for a reason, the idea is to exchange opinions and useful ideas. And sharing your ideas at a gathering like a conference, where people from different walks of life congregate can give you a lot of perspective as to what people think of them and also give you a lot of exposure at the same time!
It is important to attend a conference once in a while because networking helps you reach more people in your field, which may lead to more business opportunities. Also, it is always nice to know that people know what you do, making it easier for contacts of contacts to reach out to you to get something done.
Regardless of if you’re very sociable or a little timid, here are some tips that will help you get the most out of a conference.
Tips that will help you get the most out of a conference
1. Show up early
Meeting new people can be easy this way! Stand near the entrance for a while longer. If there’s a commute arranged for the conference, try to use it rather than driving yourself there or taking a cab. I say this because it is much easier to communicate with your travel-mates since they are in the same situation you are, unaware of what the proceedings are and how the arrangements are going to be. This can be a swift icebreaker and can help you make more friends! Once the conference has begun, people tend to have a more ‘concrete’ mindset, since they’re occupied with marketing their product or paying attention to the speaker or.
There are going to be a lot of people rolling solo, who are also seeking friendly connections! Do not be afraid to speak to anybody since it is more likely that you’ll make a friend than not. If someone approaches you, be benevolent, and help them out with their questions or help them get what they need.
Also, consider approaching sponsors of the event and introducing yourself. A casual conversation with a sponsor led could lead to business opportunities.
2. Break the ice
This is probably the toughest one. Also, it’s very likely that you’re reading this because you need a hand with this.
Being confident is key here. It will be very artificial of me if I don’t recognize that this can be difficult for some, including me. Here’s how I approach this.
You’re looking for a hook. I mean, something in common with the person you’re trying to talk to. There’s gotta be something that the person is interested in that you need, or you’re interested in that the person would like to hear. If this simple relationship doesn’t exist, you probably won’t have their interest for long.
Don’t try to be too outgoing if you’re not. This is doing more harm than good. Knowing your limits is a good thing.
Regardless of if it is a big-shot business owner, or a speaker, or the head of the marketing team, they’re all human. Why I bring this up is, more often than not you can catch them doing a normal human activity, like getting coffee, grabbing a plate to eat, using the loo, and so on. These are the moments you can use to start a conversation.
REMEMBER TO HAVE A GIVING ATTITUDE. You’re there to either compliment the person, offer them something or ask a meaningful question. These are 3 brilliant ‘hooks’ that almost everybody oversees as genuine. Although it is very likely that you’ll be seen through if you don’t back it up with actual genuineness.
3. Go over your lines
Always go over the basic details at least a couple of times. Like who you are, what you do, why are you here, what your interests are, etc. Keep it fresh, look for inspiration from others but don’t copy anybody. Thinking of your introduction from a philosophical perspective helps you internally recognize the fact that everyone carries themselves differently. With that mindset, it is easy to come up with a nice introduction of yourself, and come up with it in a way that will be genuine. Everybody has needs, you have to think of what thirst you’re here to quench.
Your introduction should be crisp and to the point. Definitely, pour your passion into it, and display your expertise. If you do it right you’ll know right away.
4. Business cards and merch:
Having a business card is important as well! To have another person know who you are and what you do is easier in the business world than it is to have them remember.
Just reach out and speak to as many people as you can. People will look for you when they need you.
Wearing a Custom T-Shirt with your brand’s name is a cool and subtle way of putting yourself and your brand out there. Doing this will really help your case in terms of recognition by your peers and customers.
5. Show interest
Being interested in the people around you, more than you are in yourself definitely helps set things straight initially. To network well, it is better to look out for people than to be looked out for. When you do this, there will be people that will start looking out for you (and your business), so getting ahead is something you don’t have to worry about.
6. Be personable
Being pleasant and well-natured to others always helps your case regardless of where you are. Also, remember the person’s name! This is crucial! Use their name to address them when you speak to them so you don’t forget it.
7. Always follow up
Send them a nice email or text once you get their contact. Try to keep in touch, this can be very helpful in building a lasting bond. Love them like they’re your distant family, always check in on them once in a while. You never know where an opportunity lies, so having healthy relationships with others in the field always helps!
To summarize – be yourself, reach out and fear nothing.