Network at a Conference

Friday, June 6, 2008

Networking at a conference is easier than you think--even if you are shy. Following are some simple steps you can take to network effectively when attending a conference.

Look up the people who will be presenting at the conference. They are influencers who can help you get better networked into your targeted industry. Take the time to visit these presenters websites. They should also all have email addresses on their websites--even top executives may have emails. But, if they don't try to find them on sites like Link In
Tell these influencers you look forward to hearing their talks. You are growing a relationship when you recognize someone for the valuable expertise they will be sharing at a conference. These presenters will appreciate you taking the time and you will gain relationship equity with them. They will, most likely, email you back and thank you. Now you can re-email them and let them know you will make sure you introduce yourself, in person, when you see them at the event.
Go up and introduce yourself at the event. Go to the presenters' talks you have emailed. Go early and sit in the front row. After their presentation take up a business card with a personalized note you have written on the back telling them how much you appreciated their insights. This will build even more relationship equity. You can also ask to follow up with a quick phone call with a question you may have about their presentation. Now you are at the point where you have really created a connection and, more likely than not, laid the groundwork for a long-term connection with whom you can develop all kinds of new business or career opportunities.
Follow up with an email to the presenter. If you can, send a relevant article to the topic they shared.
Stay in touch with the presenter by email and phone. Anything can happen here. It's all about sharing who you are and what skills you offer to the world of work that should start a great conversation around connections and opportunities for all those great influences you meet at conferences.

# Through my research you are about 7-10 more effective face-to-face than you are over the phone. That's why being present at a conference with industry influencers you can meet and network with is very crucial to your success.
# Remember when connecting with someone it is all about figuring out what matters most to that person. To this end, ask great questions like, "What's one thing you have not done in your career you would still like to do." For me this question, alone, has lead to me doing book coaching for the CMO of Motorola (we co-authored a book - Networlding) and a news anchor.

* Don't be greedy and focused on you first.
* Don't push your ideas. Ask questions instead, first and then, use your ideas to add to those with whom you are networking.


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