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Networking Tips For Your Next Conference

Conferences can be very beneficial from a professional standpoint. However, many people find the networking portion of conferences uncomfortable and miss out on opportunities to make valuable connections. An article from Forbes highlighted some networking tips that will ensure you get a return on investment for your conference participation.

  1. Rethink your breaks. Most people spend their short breaks in the restroom or on the phone checking in with the office. However, this is the best time to approach people to connect. Spend your breaks connecting with new people. Perhaps, don’t attend every session; skip one. Spend that time in a lobby or lounge and open a dialogue with other attendees.
  2. Take advantage of social media. Before you even get to the conference, find out if there is a conference app. Download it and start using it before you arrive. Use it to connect with others before, during, and after the conference. If available, use conference hashtags.
  3. Never retreat. Conferences can be exhausting with so much information being presented. However, don’t just go back to your room and order room service. Attend the receptions. These are often your prime networking opportunities. Even if there are no formal dinners or receptions, have dinner in the hotel bar or restaurant. Others will be doing the same. It’s a great opportunity to meet people and network.
  4. Stand out with the speakers. Instead of waiting in a line to talk with speakers after their presentation, an alternative option is to email the speakers afterward. Tell them what you took away from the presentation. Even connect with them on LinkedIn.
  5. Sit in the first row. People typically avoid the first row. Go ahead and sit in the first row. It maximizes your opportunity to connect with others. Also, sit with people you don’t know, not always with colleagues from your own company.