When done right, conference networking has the potential to open doors for start-up companies and established businesses alike. By honing your conference networking skills, you can be more successful in using this strategy. Here are a few dos and don’ts of networking to consider the next time you attend a business conference.
DO: Think Out of the Box
Conferences provide opportunities to expand your horizons and go beyond your comfort zone in your business dealings with others. If you’re open to new ideas and are willing to branch out from the norm, you can establish contacts and partnerships you may not have considered before. Even old dogs can learn new tricks. Being open minded and thinking out of the box are essential aspects to successful networking.
DON’T: Overanalyze Shortcomings
Most conferences have both positive and negative aspects. The worst thing you can do is analyze a conference’s short comings. Focusing on the negative makes it difficult to see the golden opportunities that a conference has to offer. Stay positive and look for the good that you can gain from every conference experience.
DO: Have Professional Business Cards Available
Make sure you’re prepared with business cards to share. Professional business cards enable you to swap information quickly and effectively with individuals you’re interested in following up on later. Sure, it’s possible to take notes on your phone in the digital age but business cards are quicker and showcase a bit more professionalism.
DON’T: Brag It Up
Bragging about yourself or accomplishments can alienate you from others, reducing your chances of establishing business contacts. You’ll have greater success in networking by maintaining a humble, willing to learn attitude. When sharing information or ideas with others, refrain from coming across as a know it all. Being open to contrasting comments and alternative views makes you more approachable and responsive to building relationships.
DO: Look for Opportunities
Conferences are a breeding ground for opportunities. There are opportunities to learn new business strategies, meet new people, brainstorm ideas, promote your brand and establish long term business relationships for the future. Putting yourself out there enables you to benefit from the knowledge and experience of others while establishing yourself as an up and coming contender in your field.