Some of the best practices for networking in conferences.
- Dress Well : I would this is the most important thing a person will notice when you approach them in conference.If you dress well it creates a good impression on other person plus it increases your self confidence.Also keep some mints and gums to keep your breath fresh.
- Start early : Reach early at venue, get yourself registered and get you name tag and absorb the environment of the conference get adjust yourself mentally and get the feel of your surrounding. And this will happen when you start early.
- Business Cards: If you are a student looking for job and if you want someone to remember its better to carry business cards rather than resume.It surprises people that you have a business card.It happened with me and it really works.Also don't forget to take business card of the person with whom you are trying to connect
- Plan: As we know lots of things are going simultaneously in a conference so I would suggest to look at schedule and attend the session which you feel are important to you and you can learn and meet people you are interested in. If you wont plan you might miss some important session and end up somewhere else.
- Introductory speech : Introductory speech should short and up to the point that describes you properly and also makes a point to the person whom you are trying to talk with and clears the agenda of connecting with that person.
- Check name tag : Check the name tag of people in conference so that you get to know more about that person and google about that company where person is working(current project/achievement) this helps in starting talk with that person and also he gets impression that you are aware about the current affairs.
- Keep a folder : Keep folder which has a notepad so that you can take important notes while attending a session and keep some updated resumes of your. Some companies do come to hire and have a updated resume would be very helpful.
- Connect Immediately: After that you have start with your conversation and you think its going well ask that person that I want to connect with you on LinkedIn and ask for his LinkedIn name and send invitation immediately and ask him to accept your invitation politely. And once conference is over send inmail/message to that person and talk about the conversation you had in conference so that your connection become strong.
- Exit Strategy: Once you have stared talking with a person you cant keep talking with them for hours or else you miss other opportunities. Find a good exit strategy and always thank person for their time and dont end your conversation abruptly because it wont create good impression to the other person.
- Dont be with your friends all the time : This one is specially for college students who attend conferences with friends. Most of the time students go in group and talk with people in group this wont help to you create your individual impression on other person.Also when having lunch don't seat with your friends rather sit with unknown person or person who is more elder to you and talk with them ask about their experiences. This will help you professionally as well as personally.
- Keep Smiling and stay hydrated : Always have smile on your face when talking with someone. Greet people this will create good impression.Always have a firm handshake while introducing yourself and when you are end your talk. This shows your professionalism and confidence.Drink water as you need to talk(a lot of talk) and water will provide you that energy.
- Don't drink too much : Last day of conference usually end up in party and drinks and people start think conference is over and but it is not. I always believe in finishing strong. And in conference party if you drink too much and make a scene all you hard work done for the conference is wasted within a minute. A drink is good and help to connect with people at bar counters but be in your limit and finish strong.
- Follow up : Send email to the people you connected with in conference. Say thanks for their time and ask them for help regarding jobs or knowledge sharing or whatever the purpose of connecting with that person.
By: Chirag Bilimoria