As the Cofounder and President of PowerToFly, I've been to my fair share of conferences and networking events. PowerToFly ran over eighty events over the last twelve months!
<p>Needless to say, I know that trying to meet new people at a multi-day event seems overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be exhausting. It can be reinvigorating and lead to useful connections that last for years to come - after all, that's why we go to conferences, right?</p><p>So, without further ado, here are my 5 tips for networking at a conference - read them, live them, and make the most of your next conference!</p><p><strong>1. Do Your Homework -</strong> Conference networking starts well before you pick up your name tag. Review the speakers and program as a whole a few weeks in advance so you can make a plan for who you want to meet and how you can connect with them. </p><p><em>*Pro tip*</em> - Once you've decided who you absolutely want to meet at the conference, <a href="https://blog.powertofly.com/linkedin-connection-request-2634340592.html" target="_self">ask a mutual connection to introduce you on LinkedIn</a> or send them a connection request with a specific ask. Tell them who you are, why you want to meet them/need their help, and propose a time to meet. If you're delivering any pitches or talks of your own at the conference, you can invite them and ask them to connect for 5 minutes afterwards.</p><p><strong>2. </strong><a href="https://blog.powertofly.com/grace-hopper-conference-2018-2603846357.html?rebelltitem=3#rebelltitem3" target="_self"><strong>Practice Your Pitch</strong></a> - You'll be introducing yourself <em>a lot. </em>Be ready to tell everyone you meet the following info in 30 seconds or less: </p><ul class="ee-ul"><li>Your name</li><li>What you do</li><li>Why you are at this particular conference</li></ul><p><strong>3. Be Genuinely Interested in the People You Meet </strong>- Dale Carnegie's old advice <em>definitely </em>applies to networking at a conference… Your ability to drive an interesting conversation that isn't all about you will be a breath of fresh air for your fellow attendees. Try the following: </p><ul class="ee-ul"><li>When you meet someone, repeat their name and use it in the conversation</li><li>Ask open-ended questions </li><li>Practice <a href="https://powertofly.com/career/live-chats/86280" target="_blank">active listening</a></li><li>Smile and ask targeted follow-up questions</li></ul><p><strong>4. Take Notes </strong>- Once you're done chatting with someone, jot down a few notes about the conversation. If you've done step 3 effectively, you should have several unique takeaways that go well beyond the person's job title. </p><p><strong>5. Follow Up & Share The Wealth</strong> - This is where the real fun begins. Connect with everyone you'd like to stay in touch with on LinkedIn and/or social media - when appropriate, you can use the notes you took to add a personal message that references something unique about the conversation you had! </p><p>Finally, consider sharing what you learned at the conference in a blog post or even a short video (you can share videos throughout the conference too). This is a great stepping stone to connect with fellow conference attendees you didn't have the chance to meet, and to share your key conference takeaways with colleagues/acquaintances who weren't able to attend the conference. </p>