Bringing your networking A-game to a conference is important. But it’s not the only thing you’ll need to take with you. If you want to make connections that count, meet the right influencers and – of course – grow your business or land the job of your dreams, you’ll want to brush up on the best ways to ace your next conference.
Plan ahead. If you’ve got deadlines looming, you’ll be distracted so either deliver your stuff in advance or shift the deadlines. You’ll want breathing room – your aim is to be relaxed and undistracted to maximize your mingling.
Next, turn your mind to why you’re attending this event. Are you looking to learn a new skill? Or looking for new clients? Or service providers? Conferences often have programs with a range of events, so make the most of these by matching your intention with the session. Save skill-learning for the expert lectures, finding clients at lunchtime mixers and service providers during happy hour. Whichever way you slice it, you’ll want to have a clear focus – ask yourself: ‘what do I want to get from this day?’
If your focus is growing your own profile, being active on the event hashtag with your social handle is a great way to be visible, start new conversations and make more connections. Familiarize yourself with the speakers and their chosen subject matter, then find the ones that most closely fit your goals from the event. Speaking directly to the right influencers can have a huge impact.
With a week to go, now is the time to refresh your Business Cards. Do they leave a lasting impression? Do they have the most up to date contact details? Yes to all this? Ok, you’re ready to level up with NFC-enabled Business Cards+. These cards can be tapped on the back of an Android phone, giving your recipient instant access to whatever destination you’ve selected, i.e. a Linkedin profile page, your new app download page or your latest album on Spotify. Cool right?
Now you’ve arrived fresh and ready to implement your game plan! If you’re meeting a lot of people in the same day, it’s easy to get both overwhelmed and forget who you spoke to about what. No one is good with names right?! But as you’re meeting people and exchanging Business Cards make sure that before you move on to, you take a few moments to send them a message referring to yourself and what you spoke about. For example, “Hi, Toby! We met at the keynote today and talked about Kanye and sales strategy. Let’s stay in touch about our plans for 2017. Next time you’re in Boston, lunch is on me!” Cementing connections right then and there works better than trying to pick through a heap of cards when you’re back in the office, days later, and trying to remember your Mikes from your Marys.
Another great way of tracking conversations and contacts is to use Evernote, an app which has a great function allowing you to take pictures of Business Cards. The information on the card is then automatically added to your phone contacts list. Cool, right? And of course, there’s LinkedIn – but we don’t need to tell you how to use that…
Finally, at the end of each day, organize all of the Business Cards you’ve received. Keep the ones you need, sort them into relevant groups, make notes of your next actions or thoughts and get rid of the ones you don’t need. Doing this each day for a few minutes saves you hours further down the line, trust us.
You made it! Post-conference glow usually last 48 hours before you’re knee deep in email and to-do lists. So to keep it fresh, refer back to your document no later than a week later. Set yourself a helpful reminder to either arrange a time to meet, speak or simply a thank the people you met for their time and attention. If you really want to stand out, make the connection offline too – a personalized. Notecard is a great physical reminder of the relationship you’ve just started. If you don’t have any yet, it’s time to stock up – try one of these beautiful, professional templates to get you started. Happy conferencing!