We live and breathe events here at Key Media – and we’ve overseen enough conferences to know that nothing matters more than networking.
Sure, there’s plenty of other important aspects to a conference … but if you’re not networking well, you’re missing out on lots of opportunities.
Don’t think you’re a natural networker? Don’t worry! We’ve put together our top tips to help you get out of your comfort zone and start making connections …
- TARGET PEOPLE IN ADVANCE
Find the idea of approaching a complete stranger a little daunting? It all becomes easier if they’re not a stranger! Do some research, find out who’s attending, look into who they are and what they do – and hey presto, your ‘impromptu’ meeting is suddenly bolstered by a lot more preparation.
- ARRIVE EARLY TO EVENTS
You’ve heard the phrase ‘own the room’, right? Well, this is how you do it … or at the very least, it’s the ideal first step. By getting to events first – and catching the attention of latecomers as they arrive – you’ve instantly got a natural authority. Don’t forget: other people probably have the same reservations about approaching strangers as you do. You’ve already established your presence at an event – so you’ll look like a great person to talk to do (which, obviously, would be correct …)
- LISTEN AND PERSONALISE
We’ve all been guilty of the whole ‘waiting for your turn to speak rather than listening to the other person’ thing. If there’s one place you don’t want to pull this trick, it’s while networking at a conference. Take the time to listen to people – you never know what you might learn, and if nothing else they’ll appreciate your receptiveness.
Also – as tempting as it might be when talking to lots of people – don’t fall into the trap of reciting ‘cookie-cutter’ responses to questions. Take the time to be more personal.
- TAKE A PARTNER ALONG
Buddy up with a wingman or wingwoman and you’ll find that networking becomes (unsurprisingly) twice as easy. Whether you want to go off in your own direction or tackle conversations in a joint manner, it’s a dead cert that two heads are better than one.
- FOLLOW UP
What’s the best way to let someone know that your conversation with them wasn’t just ‘going through the motions’? By following up and continuing the conversation, of course!
Even if you’ve no concrete opportunity or business venture to discuss (if you have, that’s all the better), dropping someone a line to say ‘nice to meet you’ will work wonders in terms of future opportunities. Business is all about people, after all.