How to work a conference

By  via   Article

“1) The goal of a conference is to LEARN and to CONNECT with people. … When connecting with people, the goal is not to tell your life story … or to immediately hand over your business card. The goal is to make a good impression, to learn something about and/or show you know something about the other person, and get permission to follow up. The goal of a conference is to learn and connect.

2) Read up on all the speakers – You should have an idea what you’d say ask to each if you get the chance to say hello. For me, right about now I’m pouring over the TED 2013 program guide.

3) Read up on all the attendees– this list is often a harder list to get, but well worth it if you can. … try to get a list at the event from the registration desk. The basic idea is to circle/mark the people you want to talk to, and have an idea of what you’ll say. …

4) Get there early. Show up early, but at least show up on time. I knowsomeone who started a 30-year business relationship with Peter Druckerbecause they both showed up on time for a conference and were the first and only ones in the room.

5) Sit in the Front Row. There is ALWAYS a seat in the front row, and you should walk right up to the front and take it. If you arrive late, you should walk past all the people standing around the wall in the back barely listening and head right up to the front. Sitting up there forces you to pay attention and makes you less likely to get buried in your iPhone. …

6) Don’t get buried in your iPhone – Be in the present, and be actively looking for opportunities to connect with people – that’s the reason you’re there.

7) Stand where people pass by – there is usually an obvious choke point of people, where every speaker and attendee will converge or pass through, and it’s a good place to stand to get to meet the people you want to connect with. It might be the registration desk, it might be the entrance to the main room – but you have to stand/chat somewhere and that’s as good a place as any. …

8) To connect with speakers, walking up to the podium after their talk can work but has low probability of a quality connection. For a more advanced approach, look for the line between the green room or the A/V setup area and the stage – that can be a better place to meet speakers.

9) Asking a question from the audience – basic. Most conference sessions have a Q&A section at the end, and most of the time there is silence for a few moments before the first question. Assume there will be Q&A and have a great question ready, and state your name and company so that other attendees know you’re there too.”


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