Some networking tips

Every day is an opportunity to make a new happy ending

Les Blogs was a bit of an eye-opener when it came to networking. Thankfully Fergus Burns, CEO of Nooked, was at hand because he is a master of networking. I don’t know how he does it, but Fergus knows everyone and is only too happy to introduce you.

Apart from the obvious tip to either go with someone who can make introductions, there are a couple of other things you can do attract attention, leave a lasting impression or get a return at a conference:

Stand out from the crowd: There were numerous sponsors at Les Blogs. Off the top of my head though I couldn’t name them all, but one of the attendee’s company stood out because of his t-shirt which read ‘Get flocked’. Needless to say, Chris Messina works for Flock, who are building an open source web browser. They didn’t pay a bean on sponsorship, but I their name springs to mind ahead of the sponsors. This worked because the conference was informal so a little more though would have to go into a typical affair.

Giveaways: Everyone loves freebies. Please God though, don’t just bring a load of pens with you. Some of the more interesting giveaways at Les Blogs included stickers (consumers become walking advertising boards) or trial products (Skype gave out 30 minutes worth of Skype Out calls). Think of the venue and the attendees to see if you can come up with an innovative giveaway.

Business Cards: At the very least have a photo of yourself on your business card. I was hesitant to take cards during the conference, but still end up with cards from people who I will never remember.

Questions: This is the easiest way to get attention at a conference, simply ask a question after a conference. remember to state your name and what you do. You’d be surprised at the fact that people will come up to you afterwards to follow-up on your point or just to introduce themselves.

Take photographs: This might sound a little stupid, but taking photographs and then displaying them on your website is a great tip for networking. It might not work at the first conference, but if you return the following year you’d be surprised by the amount of people who flick through the photos from the previous event. It serves as an icebreaker for other people to come up and introduce themselves to you. It also helps build your credibility and get your face out there.

Other thoughts: I’m only becoming familiar with Bluetooth at the moment, but i think there’s plenty of opportunity for Bluetooth networking at conferences. Everyone has got mobile phones these days and it offers an interesting way to make a beeline for people you want to talk to or simply blanket bomb everyone there.

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One Response to “Some networking tips”  

  1. 1 Tom Raftery

    The asking questions after a talk at a conference is a good tip, that I practice. I would just add to your advice – stand up when you ask the question, that way, if it is a big auditorium, people will still get to see you.

    So, stand up, state your name and your interest, and ask your question. Make sure the question is relevant to the topic discussed, or you will come across badly. Simple, effective and free!

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