Article by Nancy A. ShenkerFounder, TheOnSwitch. Posted by Inc. Magazine
Still coming back from conferences with a pile of business cards you never look at again? You’re doing it all wrong. Here’s how to come back wiser and better connected.
“I don’t have time to go to conferences.” “I went to a conference and all I got was a hangover and a pile of business cards.” Have you ever found yourself saying either of those things (or something similar)? If so, you need to rethink your conference strategy. They can be very efficient ways to expand your knowledge, network, and business — if you know how to work them properly.
Original article here
Set a clear objective before you go. Are you shopping for apps or looking for potential clients? Be clear on what you want to get out of the event. Don’t just wing it.
If the event has an app, download it. Peruse the speakers and other attendees and send LinkedIn invites to the people who interest you. Plan which sessions you’ll be attending and which sponsors you want to visit.
Attend at least one session way out of your wheelhouse. And in all sessions, be sure to introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you.
Take good notes and share them with your network. Tweeting and posting “words of wisdom” from speakers is a great way to demonstrate to your followers and clients that you’re staying on top of trends.
Go to the cocktail parties and stay off your phone. Although talking to strangers is often awkward, you can use questions ranging from, “How are the meatballs?” to “What did you think of the last speaker?” to break the ice. If you see someone standing around looking lost, introduce yourself.
Bonus tip. Make sure to follow up. I like to put business cards of potential clients in a separate pocket than other cards I receive along the way.
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