How to connect with others at conferences


Read on to learn more about networking at a conference:

  • Following up
  • Getting your work out
  • Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration
  • Be curious
  • Be social
  • Keep those business cards handy
  • Get your name out there
  • Don’t be afraid of the big dogs
  • It’s a balancing act
  • Some networking questions to get you started. When you’re at a conference, it can become a blur of new people, new ideas, and new places. …
How to Network at a Conference: 10 Ways to Make Contacts Like a Pro
  1. Your Assets.
  2. Pitch Perfect.
  3. Offer Don’t Ask.
  4. The Context Come On.
  5. Get In and Stay In.
  6. Know Your Exit Cues.
  7. Know Your Limits.
  8. Pre-Networking.

How to make the most of your conference networking opportunities?

To get the most out of the conferences and meetings you attend, it’s important to plan your strategy well ahead of the actual event. These 21 tips that will help you make the most of your conference networking opportunities before, during and after the event. 1. Have Clear Goals and Objectives

How do I find people to connect with at a conference?

If you know of people you want to reconnect with or get to know better who will be attending—clients, vendors, friends-of-friends—reach out a few weeks before the conference to set up a time to meet for coffee or a meal while you’re at the event. 3. Get Briefed

How do I make friends at conferences?

Consider emailing people you want to meet. Introduce yourself to key people and let them know that you look forward to hearing their talks and meeting them in person. They will, most likely, email you back and thank you. Now you’ll have a bit of history to fall back on when you see them at the conference.

How do you get the most out of conferences and meetings?

To get the most out of the conferences and meetings you attend, it’s important to plan your strategy well ahead of the actual event. These 21 tips that will help you make the most of your conference networking opportunities before, during and after the event.


How do you connect with people in a conference?

How to Make Connections at Professional Conferences and EventsShake smoothly. Get off to a great start. … Win the name game. When you’re at an industry conference, you’ll encounter many new faces. … Make yourself memorable. … Keep it light. … Be upbeat. … Put down your smartphone. … Exit gracefully. … Follow up.

How do you socialize at a conference?

How to Make Meaningful Connections at ConferencesMake use of conference networking tools. … Arrive early. … Tweet with authenticity. … Make others talk about themselves. … Practice the spirit of generosity in all interactions. … Sit separately from office colleagues or friends. … Handle after hours socializing with aplomb.More items…•

How do you make connections in events?

How to Create Valuable Event ConnectionsPre-Event Networking. … Demolish Networking Time Boundaries. … Network Matching. … Influence with Influencers. … Connect Through Shared Purpose. … Enhance the Knowledge Transfer. … Your Community is a Resources Hub. … Keep Your Event Open Longer.

How do you network a conference without being awkward?

Conference Tips: How to NetworkChat about the talks. … Write down additional information straight away. … Have a lot of conversations. … Join the event Facebook group. … Say ‘yes’ to off-site lunches with cool people. … Don’t be creepy. … Wait until speakers have a moment to recuperate before approaching them.More items…•

How do you mingle at a conference?

Be fearless, and let the other person do most of the talking: Approach, shake hands, introduce yourself, ask a “simple-start” question (see #11 below), stop talking, and listen. People love to talk about themselves, so let them.

How do you socialize at a professional event?

Here are 17 helpful tips for navigating a networking event and making the most of your time there:Find the bar! … Be yourself. … Set reasonable expectations. … Don’t spread yourself too thin. … Take notes. … Introduce yourself to the organizer. … Treat people like friends. … Ask great questions.More items…•

How can I be good at networking?

Demonstrate your value to potential clients and employers with these simple successful networking tips:Meet People Through Other People. … Leverage Social Media. … Don’t Ask For A Job. … Use Your Resume as a Tool for Advice. … Don’t Take Up Too Much Time. … Let The Other Person Speak. … Present A Success Story.More items…•

How do you network a conference?

How to Network at a ConferenceHave Clear Goals and Objectives. … Stay In The Same Hotel as the Conference is Being Held. … Go Prepared. … Send an Email or Tweet Prior to the Event. … Avoid the Helicopter Approach. … Be Ready with Conversation Starters. … Don’t be a “Fan-girl” or “Fan-guy” … Create a Schedule.More items…

How do you talk to someone at a networking event?

Be curious and courteous, ask questions, and always listen. Avoid the comfort of talking exclusively with people you already know. Don’t spend more than 10 minutes with any single person. When exiting—smile, make eye contact, and say something positive in closing; you may shake hands.

How do you behave in a conference?

Meeting etiquette: how to behave during business meetingsShow up on time and come prepared. … Make introductions. … Come to the meeting with a positive attitude. … Stay mentally and physically present. … Be a good listener with an open mind. … Ask questions. … Contribute to the meeting goal and agenda. … Attack the problem, not the person.More items…•

What do you wear to a conference?

The dress code will likely specify whether you should wear clothes that are business casual (professional workwear, i.e. a button-down and dress pants), smart casual (a mix of informal and work-appropriate attire, i.e. high-quality jeans and a blazer) or formal (occasion wear, i.e. a suit and tie).

What do you bring to a conference?

Pack the following items for your next business conference or seminar to ensure you are prepared, comfortable and productive.Reusable water bottle. … Business cards. … Leisure clothes. … Charger/extended batteries. … Notebook and pen. … A watch. … Comfortable shoes. … Sweater.More items…

What happens during a conference?

At a conference, innovative ideas are thrown about and new information is exchanged among experts. Its purpose could be one of the following: An academic conference is a gathering of scientists or academicians, where research findings are presented or a workshop is conducted.

How can I be social if I don’t know anyone?

How to Enter the Event ItselfTalk with some fellow “outsiders” first. The easiest people to start talking to at a party are those who feel as lost as you do. … Look for people you think you might connect with. … Look for an “open” vs. … Pick a large vs. … Offer a compliment. … Ask a question. … Take the honest approach.


Taking blank business cards with you is a great way to get other people’s information when they’ve forgotten their business cards! Or, just cross out the front of one of yours, so you won’t hand it out accidentally, and use the back.


Avoid badmouthing anybody, no matter how useful this might seem. Even if the person you’re networking does so, refrain from joining in. It gets around.

About This Article

This article was co-authored by Shannon O’Brien, MA, EdM. Shannon O’Brien is the Founder and Principal Advisor of Whole U. (a career and life strategy consultancy based in Boston, MA). Through advising, workshops and e-learning Whole U. empowers people to pursue their life’s work and live a balanced, purposeful life.

1. Have Clear Goals and Objectives

Conferences tend to move at the “speed of social” these days. That is to say, people are moving from one conversation, session, or event to another, quickly. It’s easy to get lost in the flow of things. Identify clear objectives of sessions to attend, who you hope to meet, and what you want to take away, prior to the event.

2. Stay In The Same Hotel as the Conference is Being Held

Networking events, dinners, and activities will likely be held there or nearby. In addition to this, most of the speakers, panelists, etc will be staying there also. A “chance” meeting in the lobby, gym, hotel Starbucks, or elsewhere can help “break the ice” and lead to additional opportunities for a conversation later in the conference.

3. Go Prepared

If there are specific attendees, vendors or speakers you hope to meet and talk to, do your research and prepare well ahead of time. Read their latest book, blog posts, etc, and search for the latest news on their company.

4. Send an Email or Tweet Prior to the Event

Use the same approach mentioned above. Let them know that you value and have an interest in their work and that you would like to take a minute or two at the conference to introduce yourself.

5. Avoid the Helicopter Approach

Many times at conferences I see people begin to approach someone they would like to meet only to stop 5-10 feet away and go into “hover mode”. Nothing makes a person more nervous than the possibility that a stalker is nearby. Seeing you in “hover” mode, the person you hope to meet will most likely already be formulating their exit strategy.

6. Be Ready with Conversation Starters

If at some point the conversation gets “stuck” always have a few conversation starters to get it going again. Here are a few examples.

7. Be Approachable

Don’t spend all your time outside of conference sessions using your phone, laptop or tablet. By circulating and looking open and engaged, you’ll make it more likely that someone else, looking for someone to talk to, will approach you. Knowing “when” to network is just as import and as “how to network”.

Getting the most out of connecting, networking and building your relationships at your next conference or event

During your initial conversations with people, really focus on them. When you give people your full attention, you make them feel important, and that may be the greatest gift of all between two human beings. Also, when people feel they’re truly being heard, they will talk more easily about themselves, their jobs, their passions, and their business.

Rachita Sharma

Rachita Sharma is the CEO and Co-founder of Girl Power Talk. She also serves as the Chief Marketing Officer of Blue Ocean Global Technology. Her responsibilities include corporate communications, client engagement, and new business development.

What to do before a conference?

Before the conference, set your goal. Before attending a conference set specific goals regarding the type of contacts that you want to make. Before you leave, create a plan for your follow-up that will help you to connect with and help the more qualified contacts.

How to keep contact information in one place?

Take notes during conversations and jot down the main takeaways right after speaking with them. Use the note feature of your best smartphone or a small notebook to keep all your information in one place.

Why is it important to participate in events?

Events are the type of gatherings that allow us to make connections easier. Even though many conferences are now virtual or postponed because of the pandemic it is important to attend these events and build relationships.

Why do we go to events?

Many events are held to gain knowledge and foster new connections. We all go to events for the same reason: to learn new things and build new relationships. These relationships can lead to long-term friendships and business partnerships.

Why is engaging with others important?

Engaging with others effectively is a key part of building relationships. The more you do this, the easier it becomes. The process of building relationships is something we look forward to and it brings us joy. The opportunity we have in life depends on both what and who we know. Conferences offer a unique opportunity for us to alter …

What do conference pros need to know?

Conference pros not only have the skills to rock an event, they also have an arsenal of tools at their disposal. Before you go to the event, make sure you have the following in place: Your Badge: One of your most important, but often overlooked, assets for conferences is your badge. It is your first impression.

What is the right conference?

The right conference can be a game changer for your business. More importantly, the right conference, done the right way can prove to be a gold mine of opportunities. Whether you are going to a trade show, festival or business conference, you have to be prepared. You already are spending time, money and energy to get to the event.

Why do pros look forward to their event?

Pros look forward to their event because they are certain they will get new business from it. Pros know exactly how to work a room and walk up to a stranger like an old friend. Pros are a magnet for business cards because they aren’t the sleazy schmoozer types.

What to do if you are not an extrovert?

If you are not an extrovert, don’t try to be! Even if you are an extrovert, we all have limits. The worst way to do a conference is to try doing it all, even when you’re exhausted or out of your element. In my book Captivate, I talk about locations that make you thrive and places that make you survive. Do you do better one-on-one? Then setting up coffees at conferences is going to be way more productive for you than attending a break-out session. Do you love late nights? Then host an after-party! Knowing your limits also applies to food, sleep and timing. If you are particular about food, bring your own snacks. If you aren’t a morning person, think about skipping the morning session so you have more energy for the happy hour event.

What factors can predict if two people click?

Another factor that can predict whether two people click is similarity . Romantic partners may face less conflict if they come from similar upbringings, for example, and friends often bond over a love of, say, karaoke.

Can you isolate yourself during a break?

It may be tempting to sneak in a nap during a break or to order room service for meals, but the more you isolate yourself, the more others will isolate you. Research has consistently shown that, whether you’re making a platonic connection or a professional one, familiarity breeds attraction.

How to improve conference networking?

To improve conference networking, be intentional with your networking event objective. Effective conference networking is more than just fancy technology and tools. Defining a networking event objective is just as important.

What is conference planning?

Conference planning is well underway. You’ve secured a convention center in a city that’s going to get people excited. You’ve booked a keynote speaker that is sure to wow! You’re focused on providing engaging and interactive sessions for your attendees. You know that conference networking is important, but you’re not sure how to help your attendees make meaningful connections.

What is technology enhanced networking?

Technology-enhanced networking can offer your attendees networking opportunities that go above and beyond traditional mix and mingle events. Between matching software, event apps that allow for online and in-person networking, and technology that has LinkedIn integrations, advancements in technology are helping event planners provide more strategic networking to their event-goers.

Why do planners use event apps?

Event apps help event planners communicate with event attendees about session updates, speaker information, and schedule changes. For this reason, some event planners prefer to use event apps to eliminate the need for multiple technology or software companies.

What is networking in business?

And that’s a lot easier for your attendees to do when they are connecting with people whose experience aligns with theirs. This way, they are able to better share knowledge, bounce ideas, discuss trends, overcome challenges, and talk about the industry and/or job outlook.

What is roundtable networking?

Roundtables are a not-so-new form of networking, but another event format that is greatly improved with the help of technology. With targeted roundtables, strategic seat assignments can be created with the touch of a button so that event planners can strategically bring groups of people together without having to spend a ton of time in excel trying to manually match people.

What is peer to peer networking?

Peer-to-peer events are probably the most common way to connect attendees. These types of events connect industry professionals who are at similar points in their careers. This is a great place to start if you’re not what type of conference networking to offer.


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