Attending a conference or networking event? If you’re anything like us - you may still be adjusting to the transition of putting on “work pants” for the first time in a while, let alone attending a networking event or tech conference. We know it can be daunting, but we also know how valuable these opportunities are. Conferences and events are a great opportunity to expand your network, learn new trends, and perhaps even find your next big opportunity.
We’ve put together this guide to help you make the most out of your experience.
Before the Event: Preparation is Key
Identify Key Companies and People: Research companies and individuals who will be attending the events. This helps in targeting your efforts to make meaningful connections. What are you aiming to get out of this conference? Who would you like to meet? It’s great to have a sense of that before you go.
Master Your Elevator Pitch: Prepare a one-liner that effectively introduces you and your expertise. This pitch should be memorable and highlight what makes you unique.
Announce Your Attendance: Post about your participation in the event on social media platforms. This increases your visibility and might help in scheduling meetings in advance.
Create Networking Groups: Consider creating “groups” either via your CRM, a list, an online document, an email chain, or even a group chat (ie. “Web Summit Network”), to house all the new contacts you’ll make. This can be a useful resource for future interactions.
During the Event: Engaging Effectively & Authentically
While the below are tips on how to “network” effectively, remember that the best connections are ones that are authentic, and that don’t feel “salesy” or contrived.
Be Proactive in Networking: Don’t wait for people to come to you. Approach attendees, introduce yourself, and engage in meaningful conversations. We know it can be awkward, but chances are that people are feeling similarly to you! Take a deep breath and say hello!
Ask Insightful Questions: Prepare some questions in your mind ahead of time, especially if you're aiming to connect with investors or founders. These questions should encourage discussion about market trends, challenges, and opportunities. “What are you seeing?”, “How are things going?”, “What do you think about this?”, etc.
Listen and Add Value: Pay attention to what others are saying and think about how you can add value to their work or challenges. This could be through your expertise, connections, or insights into market trends.
Utilize Breaks and Social Events: These are great opportunities to meet people in a more relaxed setting. Engage in conversations over coffee or meals. Or take a break for yourself! Events and conferences are a marathon, not a sprint. Make sure you’re taking care of YOU.
Plan Your Follow-Ups: Keep a note on your phone or a notebook to remember who to connect with afterwards; whether on LinkedIn or otherwise, and what to discuss in your follow-up messages.
After the Event: Maintaining Connections
Follow Up Promptly: Send follow-up emails or LinkedIn messages, ideally within 24 hours of meeting someone. Reference something specific from your conversation to make it more personal.
Schedule Regular Check-Ins: For particularly valuable connections, suggest regular check-ins to keep the conversation going and build a lasting relationship.
Share Insights and Collaborate: Offer to share insights or collaborate on future projects. This shows your willingness to be a part of their journey beyond just the conference.
Update Your Networking Groups: Add your new contacts to your networking groups and share relevant information or updates that could be beneficial for the group.
Use Social Media: Actively use platforms like LinkedIn and X / Twitter (feels very "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince") to engage with the event’s content and connect with speakers and attendees.
Employ Networking Apps: Some conferences offer apps for attendees to connect, schedule meetings, and navigate the event. Make sure to use these tools to enhance your experience.
Remember, the goal is not just to collect business cards but to build meaningful connections that can lead to fruitful collaborations in the future. Be genuine, stay curious, and most importantly, enjoy the experience!
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Artemis Canada is a boutique executive search firm specializing in placing top talent in the tech sector across Canada, the United States, and Europe. Our team of experienced recruiters has a proven track record of finding exceptional candidates for a variety of roles, from C-suite positions to high-demand individual contributors. For more information on our services, please visit our website at https://www.artemiscanada.com/