Attending a networking conference or an event anytime soon? Well, these are 8 real good tips that will help you answer following questions that you may have :
- How to start a conversation or how to talk to people at events ?
- If I am introvert - what should I do ?
- How to enjoy the networking event and make the best of it.
The answer is a summary of our conversations that we had with several event organizers who do multiple events a year.
Here it goes: -
1. Research on the event. Do it.
I know - you would already know this. But at times as event participant, we see people make it to the event without really being prepared. They miss out on some basics like general theme, kind of people attending, enough visiting cards etc. Work out the logistics beforehand. Research on event registration formalities prior to avoid queues.Pro Tip :
Go to the event / conference websites. See if they have enough details. Most of the events today would have an event mobile app like eventRAFT
, etc. that can easily be downloaded and can come in handy.
2. Do little research on attendees too.
While speakers are anyways under the spotlight, it’s fun to engage with participants. The speakers in making. Identify what kind of folks are coming in - designers, developers, managers, HR professionals, VP, CEO's, etc. This will give you a general orientation of the event. It will help you make the best of the networking breaks. You will have a perspective even before you reach. Pro Tip:
Start following event social pages. See what kind of people are expressing their views. If the event has a mobile event app like eventRAFT, it will even give you list of attendees with rich bio and you can start connecting right before you reach.3. Don’t know what to say. In that case, put your hand forward and say “Hi - I am Alien”. 🙂
Just this much will kick start your connection. Immediately, You will become human instead of one lost alien. It will put you out of your comfort for that sentence but then it will open up possibilities. Stop thinking, start believing in serendipity. And see what happens next. Most of the times it will be awesome except someone is in a real hurry for a loo or is a weirdo IRK.Pro Tip:
Some ice breaker and conversation starter can be done through chat on the app. You can also reach out with some personal message like. “Hi X, Saw what you do. Interested to learn more. Can we connect in the break near the coffee counter?”
Some fun interesting read : "Hi,I'm Obie"
4. Be real. Be curious. Have some questions. Maybe, some personal too.
I am hoping you could convince yourself on point 2 above. If you did, awesome. If not, try out for f***’s sake once. It won’t hurt anyway. While at those events, be absolutely real. No need to make up some stories to impress. You are there to have fun and gain some insights. If you are busy making stories, you will miss out on absorbing new things. So, stay real.
Stay curious. Have some questions like - “How do you do this? What makes you do that? Did you have real benefits out of doing X? “Add some personal questions to like - “How do you manage this with so limited time? I am not able to get pass this resistance; how did you break the chasm and move forward?”This will not only help you understand things but will create sparks for real conversation as two humans. Don’t forget: Professionals are human too.5. Always make a note
If you have found some conversations even slightly interesting, make a note of it. Name, contact and reference pointers on what was discussed. May be behind their business cards or in your own personal diary. Pro Tip:
Some of the good ones even take selfies. Someone did with me. I couldn’t do the same though. 6. Connect - after that meeting.
Just a hi or thank you or let’s connect again later message / Email by end of the day or next day will always improve the chances of taking it further. Again - let serendipity work out for you. 7. Summarize your day
Always make a mental note and written notes on how did your day go. Remember you are investing yourself there. Go to make the best out of it. If too much time went by in logistics or commute or finding a good seat, see what can be done to make the rest of the days better.
Write down how did your meetings go with people out there. It will help you reflect better.
8. Finally, the PAC-Man rule. Take it forward.
Introduce yourself. Say hello. Chat with people. They're lovely. Really! And if you're already chatting in a group, make your group approachable using @ericholscher's PAC-Man Rule.