The How-to of Events Networking
March 14, 2022 11:05 am
TSA’s Communications and Marketing Manager Eve Solomon with some tips on how to maximise your networking outcomes at ITEC Conference.
One of the pleasures of coming out of the pandemic is an increase in human interactions beyond seeing the old guy who runs the corner shop. As much as he loved hearing your tales of woe, he’s moved on and so should you…..it’s time to spread your wings and get back into the fray of starting conversations and creating opportunities.
Not a big remit, right?
With TSA’s ITEC Conference just around the corner, here’s some tips on how to prepare for the big event and how to maximise your chance of having meaningful conversations and coming away with some solid leads and opportunities to carry your TEC business forward.
Working the Net
Being prepared with a set of objectives is key and this may involve doing some background research on who you want to connect with and why. Is it co-marketing you’re hoping to do with someone or spread awareness of a project you’re involved in? Are you looking to meet a sector leader who could become a mentor or advisor to you? Are you looking for potential candidates to hire to grow your team? Having a clear objective in mind will make your interactions less ambiguous.
Find out the delegate and exhibitor list as early as you can and get going on some desk research, check out the recent activity of your target orgs, have they recently been in the news, won an award, been involved in a merger, a rebrand? Get in the know and showing an interest in them is a great conversation opener.
It sounds like the most obvious point but the key to effective networking is to build rapport whether through shared experience, shared goals or mission or even sense of humour! Breathe, smile and listen carefully to what your approached contact is saying so you can follow up with relevant questions rather than relying on a script. It’s so easy to feel nervous and fire off your key messages and a quick bio of who you are whilst the conversation goes nowhere. And be ready with your business cards/digital QR codes so you’re not fumbling around trying to access them.
Take it slow
As in any successful relationship, it may need to start off as a slow burner as you check out each other’s values and ways of working. It’s unlikely you’ll do a deal in the early days. Take your time. They will equally be doing their due diligence on you but this is a positive, as it means they’re less likely to be reckless and are showing a level of caution. This approach can be a good foundation for an ongoing biz partnership.
Have a plan. And then Plan B.
An organisation that you thought would be a great fit for you may not work out. That’s fine. It may be a timing issue, so create another opportunity to reach out to them in the following quarter or year if their business still looks healthy.
How to exit gracefully
Leaving a conversation can sometimes be harder than getting one off the ground. The best exit strategy is to be polite and keep things open-ended, making them feel it was a valuable conversation: “Hoping that project works out for you guys, would love to hear progress.” This shows you were listening and interested but it’s time to move on and continue engaging with the wider Conference.
Quick follow-up is essential. Remembering the detail of so many conference conversations can be a challenge! Get in touch in the following week with a polite and upbeat email summarising what you talked about and any proposition or opportunity you talked about, with a promise of a phone call soon after. Don’t let the lead go cold. And be useful. Include links to content, videos or stuff you want them to view……
At ITEC, we’ll be running 3 x Knowledge and Networking sessions on Days 1 & 2 around key topics such as analogue to digital, co-production, workforce, benefits realisation and quality standards. Everyone in that space will have a similar interest as you in that topic, so a good springboard to link in with people right there and then! We’ve also built-in extra networking time within the rhythm of the day, as we know you’ll all be keen to catch up with each since 2019. The Conference App also the capability for organising meetings with other delegates on-site.