Before attending a business conference or networking event, it’s good to set some personal goals. Don’t just wing it or hope for the best. Maximise your time by knowing exactly who you want to meet and what you want to gain.
But how can you know who’s attending before getting there?
Social media is a valuable tool when it comes to targeting the right people to connect with. Start off by finding the conference hashtag and use Twitter to follow what others are saying about it. Ideally you are also part of the discussion, by following the main speakers and sharing any of your thoughts or blog posts related to the main conference topic. Networking online will make it easier to connect with other like-minded people at the actual conference.
There’s also an app for that. Scheduit (www.scheduit.com) is a networking app that maximises your chances of connecting with the right people. It could be your virtual business wing-man at your next conference, since its algorithm ensures you are matched with potential business partners based on your compatibility.
The app let’s you announce your presence and set up meetings with other people in the area. It’s the perfect preparation for a networking conference since it uses LinkedIn profiles to measure compatibility and allows you to find the perfect people to meet.
When you eventually meet your fellow Scheduee, don’t fall into the trap of engaging in formal or unstimulating small-talk. The best business relationships are based on authenticity and genuine interest, so why not replace tedious questions with more challenging ones: “What is your biggest passion?” or “How did you overcome a recent challenge at your workplace?” Be a good listener. A stimulating conversation could exponentially improve your chances of staying in touch and collaborating in the future.
After the conference, don’t forget to follow up with an e-mail or Facebook message. Long-term relationships don’t just happen by handing out business cards or following each other on Twitter.
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