“Conferences & seminars are for more than just learning. Sometimes you’ll get more from the people you meet in the audience than the people on stage.”
Conferences are one of, if not my favorite place to network. You can meet more amazing people at a weekend event than you would all month if you know how to do it right.
When attending any conference or seminar, I look at it like any other business event. I walk in the door with a plan to meet specific people. Spend some time before the event thinking about the type of people you’d like to meet at the event. Are they potential clients, referral partners or even mastermind members?
Who are you looking to meet at the event?
When I walk in the door I have a number in mind of how many people I want to meet who fit a certain profile. That way I know what to look for. I’m starting conversations and listening to people talk specifically to see if they fit my criteria.
Now more than ever, events encourage networking and want people to connect. They also want people to help promote the event so they will encourage people to Tweet and post on Facebook about the event. This is one of the best ways to “stalk” people before the event happens.
Check out what people are saying, search social sites for others mentioning the event and reach out to them before the event. Friend them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Comment on a few of their posts and send them a message telling them you’d love to meet up with them at the event and maybe have coffee or something.
This is great if it’s your first time and you don’t know anyone there. You can make a few friends before you get there so when you show up at the event you’ll feel like long time friends.
Once you’re there, seating is often first come, first serve. Try to show up early so you get first pick of your spot at the event.
Even more so, try to get there early so you can find a new spot every day. Don’t try sit in the same spot every day. By moving around the room you get a better chance of meeting new people every day. This is the quickest way to get to know a bigger crowd during the event and make the most of the event. Remember, just like local business networking, if you sit with the same people each and every day you never expand your network. You never know if your next client is sitting at the table next to you.
Plan on after hours events
Many times, the after hours events (AKA drinks after the day’s events) is where the real magic happens. I can’t count how many huge joint ventures I’ve seen happen after the main event activities are over with. I’ve done business at lunches and met some of the best people hanging out in the bar after the day’s festivities. That’s where people really connect and get to know each other.
Note: Even if you’re not much of a partier, that’s ok. Go anyway. I don’t drink, yet I’ve made more friends and great connections just by grabbing a glass of water and being part of the conversation.
Conferences give you a totally different set of people to meet than the norm. I meet a lot of people and it opens up connections with amazing people from all over the world. I can’t find a better place to find a great mix of potential clients, potential leverage partners and great mastermind friends all in one place.
About The Author:
Ely Delaney is a dad, Best Selling author, speaker, marketing consultant and Founder/CEO of Your Marketing University. His goal is to teach marketing in a simple easy to understand format businesses can use to help gain marketing ideas & market their businesses to boost sales.
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