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Making friends at conferences

All of us have at some time or the other been to an industry conference. And often the temptation is to hang out with one’s own set of people.

This is a great article about behaviour at conferences. It mentions 7 things that one can and must do to ensure that the conference experience goes beyond just the content of the speeches. Exploit the networking opportunity to the maximum too.

Here are the 7 recommendations.

1. Get there early and mingle over muffins : Get there before the groups arrive. This way you will get to meet others waiting for their friends/colleagues to arrive

2. Sit with people you don’t know : This is easy to do. Just find a seat and sit on your own and someone new will come along to sit with you, or find someone to sit next to

3. Be the prepared guy/girl : Have a spare copy of the agenda, or a pen/pencil or a pad or something

4. Attend evening events : As always it is the after hours that widen the circle and where you get to build bonds with people.

5. Be generous (if you can afford it) : Buy a round, host a little event, something that gets people to notice and remember you

6. Have an unique business card: There are professional business card gatherers. And in an evening you can end up with many cards. Having a memorable card can help make an impression.

7. Don’t try too hard: Don’t be ‘odd’ just because it is a conference. Be yourself!

I also notice that smoking is usually a great puller down of barriers. The smoker needs a light or a cigarette or is looking for a place to stub his/her cigarette.

My advice would be to do what ever suits you the best. But going to a conference and not meeting new people is not getting the most out of the dollars invested.

Read the full article here.


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