Up Your Networking Game: 8 Networking Tips and Tricks For Conferences and Major Events
by Jordan Wagenet, on May 23, 2019
We’ve all been there: a large conference welcoming thousands of people in your field, and you have no idea how to reach any of them. One person amongst a sea of attendees can feel overwhelmed, but don’t let the size of the event deter you. The team at Clarity Experiences has planned hundreds of events of all sizes, and worked with tons of people: we have some tips on getting the most of your event experience!
Know before you:
Plan your schedule
Take time before the event to plan your schedule and know which events you will attend. Network with your coworkers or colleagues about the talks or posters you’re all excited about. Explore social media and mobile apps for event news and schedules.
Dress for your audience
Know how to dress before you go, and what your peers expect. Check with past attendees or look up photos from earlier events, and look at a dress code. If your field is professional, aim for the upper-end of the recommended attire. If your field is more relaxed, dress accordingly. No matter the level of dress, though, plan your outfits and check that your pieces are clean and wrinkle-free. Choose shoes that are both appropriate and comfortable. Don’t let your clothes get in the way of your networking, so have some backups in case of spilled coffee or damage.
Prepare an introduction
Know who you are, what you represent, and why people should take interest--even if you’re a newbie! Keep it brief but informative, and practice it until you’re confident. Stand out from the thousands of other attendees with a professional blurb.
While you’re at the event:
Focus on the event
Your time on the ground at the event itself is valuable. Don’t get distracted by your phone or computer unless you’re dealing with important professional matters. Look for other people you might know and find out what they’re excited about. Invite other attendees to share lunch tables or drinks, and scope out where other folks are eating or staying. Rarely do professionals get together in one place, so take advantage of that.
Sit up front and take notes
Even if you’ve read the research ahead of time, don’t get caught without a notepad and pencil to jot down a quick thought. Sit towards the front and make eye contact with the speaker. Arrive on time when possible. Don’t be the person who’s there for a place to sit between events.
Reach out to speakers
Note the names of speakers you enjoyed the most and reach out them away from their talk. Remember, they are as passionate about your field as you are, and want to talk industry. Maybe send them an email after the event has finished, or strike up a conversation at another talk or while socializing.
After the event:
Have a plan of action
Like preparing before the event, post-event prep is important, too. After you’ve decompressed, revisit your notes or schedule and formulate a follow-up plan. Find the contact the information of your favorite speakers. Take advantage of business cards you exchanged or collected. Connect with people on LinkedIn.
Put information into action
Don’t be the groupie: actively apply the advice and information you gleaned from your colleagues and have something to show for your efforts at the next big event. If you have ideas, confidently run them past the people you networked with. If you got an eye into cutting-edge research that few others get, get an edge in your career by tapping into the new ideas you saw. Bring back insights from the speakers that maybe they didn’t share in their papers. Take the initiative and have confidence in your career choice.
Get More Conference Tips: Clarity Experiences
We hope these tips will help you on your next networking venture at a big conference. These events can seem overwhelming, but taking it one step at a time is the best way further your career.