SXSW just wrapped up, and as we speak, MozCon is well underway; for those not in the know, MozCon is the place to be right now if you want to be rubbing elbows with the best talent in internet marketing.
We all know how great conferences can be for mixing things up and refreshing your ideas, they’re also great for networking and meeting with industry leaders. If you’re not lucky enough to be in Seattle this week, fear not, there are still many conferences lined up for the rest of the year, and they’re all around the world. So here are some top tips for making the most of conferences… Or any networking opportunity for that matter.
- Harness the power of social media and make plans to meet people before you get there; but don’t limit yourself to this group of people only. It’s nice to have a bit of background knowledge about the people you’re going to be bumping into, but be sure to use the opportunity to meet as many people as possible without being rude.
- Don’t be the guy (or gal) who walks in, litters the place with business cards, and leaves. No one looks at these business cards again; we use them to scrape chewing gum off shoes and fix wobbly tables. Don’t hand over a business card until you’ve had a real conversation and there is a mutually beneficial reason for handing one over.
- If you’re terrible with names, scribble a little reminder on the back of business cards you receive (when they’re not looking, of course). This will help jog your memory when you get back to the office and you’re looking at stack of identical business cards and trying to remember who ‘Jake’ is.
- If you want to talk to one of the speakers, play it by ear. I’ve read advice which says you should march over to them before their slot; as this way, you’ll be more memorable; this could hideously backfire if you’re marching over to a nervous or highly focussed speaker who will forever remember you as the great pre-speech distraction. Play it by ear, ask if it’s a good time, and pick up on social cues. They’re not going to flat out tell you to go away, so just be perceptive.
- If there’s a drinks mixer involved, do not, and I repeat, do not! Be that person. Have one too many drinks and that is all you’ll be remembered for. Also, remember that there are probably a lot of cameras around, people like to record these events, so just be sensible and grab an OJ.