Here’s a link to a good piece on networking at conferences:
For shorter events, it’s amazing how many networkers purposely arrive fashionably¬†late.¬† Once they arrive, they find it hard to break in to quality conversations.¬† What a mistake.¬† Instead, arrive early.¬† Not just
on time, but even before the start time.¬† The conference organizers, hoping for a good turnout, will be¬†happy to see you.¬† They will usually give you good intelligence right then and there on expected attendees within your¬†networking objectives.¬† (You do have clear¬†objectives in advance¬†for these events, right?)
Then, as other attendees arrive, you’ll feel comfortable welcoming them and, yep,¬†they’ll be happy if you do so.¬† Your good karma will be flowing!¬† Later in the event if you find yourself losing momentum, they’ll usually return the quid pro quo by introducing you to someone.¬† They might even seek you out with an opportune introduction¬†if you’ve given the right indicators of your networking objectives.
Likewise, stay late.¬† No, don’t be a hanger-on, but by all means, keep working the room as the numbers dwindle.¬† In a nutshell: big rooms¬†+ smaller numbers = easier approaches.
I once went to an event that was a 7 to 9 pm gig.¬† It¬†probably reached 200 participants at its peak.¬† At about 9.05,¬†I connected with someone right in my networking target profile, and she¬†later connected me with someone for whom I ultimately ran a nice project.¬† I could’ve left when the first 100 people had gone, but this connection happened when about 50 more¬†had departed.¬† We were still talking as we went to the coat rack together, which was when she said she agreed to refer me¬†to my future client.¬† It was seemingly effortless.
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