Tips for you when attending a conference

When attending a conference, ensure you listen, learn and connect with people with similar interests and objectives to ensure that your time at a conference is a worthy investment.

While much of the factual information shared during presentations will prove invaluable, remember that one of the most valuable takeaways from any conference is often the new relationships and contacts made through networking.

That’s why understanding how to network at a conference is ultra-important. We’ve all seen plenty of books and blogs written about the importance of networking but, while there are many who find this one of the easiest things to do, there are many of us who have to make a special effort to connect with fellow conference goers.

Here are some useful tips to optimize the value of attending conferences.

For starters, before you even get to the conference, review your goals and objectives. Remember, that networking is two-way traffic – you need to give and receive, talk and listen, sell your business or service and find out about others’ offerings.

When it comes to networking, it is often helpful to stay where the conference is being held rather than wasting time travelling to and from a venue. This is where Granny Mouse Country House & Spa is the perfect choice as we offer a beautiful setting and accommodation as well as a great conference venue

Not having to commute, means you have extra time to mingle and meet and find that perfect moment to chat to other delegates or even a speaker who may open your eyes to further opportunities.

To optimize your use of time and to make sure you connect with the right people, check out the delegation list and then read up on those who are of particular interest to you. It’s good to connect with them beforehand via their specific social media platforms.

But, don’t get carried away and overdo it by trying to schedule lunch or meeting dates before the conference. It’s often better to be subtle and to work the connection when you meet in person at the scheduled conference.

Here are some great conversation starters for those who find it difficult to strike a conversation with a stranger in the coffee or lunch queue:

  • I am trying to improve on a specific issue, what are you doing, any tips?
  • How long have you been at the company you are at and where were you before?
  • What interested you in this specific conference?

If you are not used to approaching people without an introduction, try and keep it as natural as possible. Don’t approach someone and then freeze and go into hover mode before you get to them. Instead, remember that many people may be feeling just as unsure as you are, so engage with confidence and just go ahead and introduce yourself.

You must also try to be approachable. Don’t hide behind your phone or laptop, circulate and be open to having someone engage with you. Use spaces where people are almost forced to come together like lunch or coffee queues and nab an empty space at a lunch table by putting down your plate and introducing yourself to your neighbours before picking up your knife and fork.

Although it is off putting to spend all your time ogling your phone or tablet, identify some down time to tweet or post about the conference, tagging people you have met. Most importantly, make it positive while using #grannymouse and the #conference name.

Even in this age of high tech gadgetry, remember that good old fashioned manners are also a must when getting to know others. During social occasions, keep your alcohol to a reasonable level. Many careers, relationships and opportunities have been damaged by not following this simple rule.

Accept that you are possibly going to end up chatting to someone you wish you had never met. Prepare yourself in advance and have a good line on hand to excuse yourself gracefully. Never be rude – you never know what power that person may have or when you might run into that person again. Try not to burn any bridges.

Last but not least, make sure you have those conference essentials on hand at all times – breath mints or gum, eye drops, perfume and, of course, business cards.

When all is said and done and you’re packing to leave the beauty of the Midlands and Granny Mouse, remember to send an email to those you met who will most likely provide valued connections going forward. Follow up is so important.

Reference: CoxBlue – the intersection of Business, Growhand Technology – Martin Jones.

Similar Posts