HOW TO BUILD YOUR NETWORK USING A CONFERENCE?
The main reason for attending a conference is to build a network. Building the network and to be a recognized person in a particular area of interest would be one of the most important things to develop a person’s career. However, I have noticed people come for Conferences with high hopes but returns with low achievement in related to building the network. I suggest you the following steps to build your network more efficiently and more productively at a conference.
You are spending money and you sacrifice your time for attending a conference. So you need to turn your investment into the high return. So you need to prepare before the conference.
How to Prepare Before?
Observe the program
– First thing you need to do is observing the conference program. Identify who is going to do the speeches and in which areas. So mark down the areas you need to listen and pre-allocate your time. So in those sessions, you can find people with a common interest. It would be easy to start a conversation with the people who have a common interest and common backgrounds. Furthermore, mark the star people. The people with the highest knowledge and experiences. So if we know the person and where he will be at the conference you can easily approach. Having a chat with him/her, having a selfie and add him/her to your network will be a once in a lifetime opportunity that you would not have to miss. Moreover try to get the idea by observing the program regarding how many attendees will be there, from where they are participating and how many professors, students, industry representatives and etc. Know your peers will ease your stay at the conference.
Know the organizing committee
– If you can send some emails and if you can keep in touch with the conference organizing committee, even remember a name or two will make you relaxed when it comes to the conference day. Better to try.
Visiting cards/Business cards
– Do you have any business cards? If ‘YES’ check if you have enough quantity. If ‘NO’ is the answer for both of the questions it is really important to print some visiting cards. Even you are a student or newbie to the industry it will be really important on the conference day. Planning to go to a conference? So start now and make your printed identity.
Connect them with Social Media
– Adding your colleagues in your social networks will be a great way to keep in touch. However, before the conference, you may need to think about your social media pages. Update it and make an easy way to communicate your social media pages to others. Does not matter it is wrong or right. people always look into your social profile trying to judge.
Group or Single Participation?
– Are you going to the conference alone or with some colleagues? If you going alone it will be fine. But if you going to the conference as a group you need to think and discuss with your group regarding how to use the conference to maximizing your network and maximizing opportunities. It will always feel safe when you are visiting with fellow colleagues. But when it comes to the networking you will be missed most of the opportunities since you stick with your fellow colleagues much more. I am going to give you a TIP. Do not worry about your friends, and they will remain the same after the conference. So use these conference days to add more new friends. Talks with other people, eat with them, drink with them, have fun and make friends. You can catch your group later.
Tips for What to do and don’t
Be you, but smile and talk
– You need to be you at the conference day but what is better than a good smile. So greet and welcome others. Ask some ice-breaking questions. Ask something regarding his/country or his works. Now you are about to start a good friendship.
Execute the plan
– Now you have the visiting cards, you know the people, interesting sessions, and some organizing committee members also. So start the conversations, exchange visiting cards, add them to your social networks, try for some, one to one meeting and you can take some notes as well.
Technology can wait
– There is one thing you do not do if you plan to build your network. Do not stay with your mobile phone and Laptops. Your emails and works can wait. But this opportunity is limited and time fly.
Have fun and be active
– Most of the conferences having a different kind of opportunities for networking. In TIIKM conference they are providing unique Networking dinners, Discussion Sessions, forums and etc. So it is your duty to be active and participate in those events. You can have fun, share thoughts, stay tall among others and more importantly collect some remarkable memories.
So good luck with your new friends!
By Duminda Koralagamage