How To Use Networking To Build Business Partnerships At A Conference
Some people love networking sessions while others loathe them but no matter your thoughts on networking sessions, they are designed with a purpose in mind. Most people think the purpose is to get attendees of the event comfortable with each other to lay the foundation for conversational growth.
While this is true, there can be other goals of networking sessions. At Luxatia International, we want to set the stage for dynamic discussions throughout the event but we also want you to have the opportunity to leave with new business partnerships.
Achieving this can be stressful, especially for the introverts in the room, but we have gathered several tips to help you accomplish this goal!
Prepare Business Cards
Preparing business cards with valuable information should be something you think about a week or so before the conference to give yourself enough time to create and print new ones if needed.
First off, make sure everything is up to date – your picture, job title, company branding, etc. Then decide, what is the most valuable information you want people to have about you? Do you want them to follow up on LinkedIn, your personal website or just your company email?
Do not overload your business card with information but make it appealing enough to stand out against the other business cards people will collect during business events such as a summit or conference.
You may think business cards are not as important anymore in the digital age but during these events, you are meeting many people and it can be overwhelming trying to remember everyone’s name. If you introduce yourself to someone and then hand him or her a business card so they can read your name, it helps them retain it in their memory.
If your business card has a photo or brand image, even better. A photo of yourself will help them easily remember you or even a brand image can help new acquaintance’s place a company with your name.
Download the LinkedIn App
The next step you should take before a conference is to download the LinkedIn app. You may have completed this already. If not, we highly suggest doing so as soon as possible, as there are many features the LinkedIn app can offer to you as a business professional.
Once you have the LinkedIn app downloaded, you will be connected to your LinkedIn groups. If you have not joined the LinkedIn group for the summit you are attending before downloading the app, do it now!
Our LinkedIn Summit groups are created months before the actual summit, giving you plenty of time to join and connect with other attendees or just like-minded professionals. Gear up for the conference by joining in dynamic conversations around the latest trends, challenges and technology influencing your industry.
Once you are at the conference or summit, you can use LinkedIn’s Nearby feature to get even more connections. The appeal of the feature is in its name. This tool allows you to find connections around your physical location using your device’s Bluetooth.
Learn more in our guide on how to use LinkedIn Nearby for networking at conferences & summits.
Gather Business Brochures
Aside from business cards, brochures can also be a great physical object to hand out at conferences or summit. Again, this will help by creating a lasting memory in the mind of the people you are meeting or by giving them something to reference and remember you by later on.
If you are representing a smaller business, outline your company’s values and goals. For larger businesses that people may already be familiar with, design a brochure that highlights a new product or service.
Not only will this help establish a personal connection but if the person you are meeting needs the product or service you are offering, then it builds a valuable business connection as well.
Research Attending Businesses
As we mentioned earlier, networking sessions can be overwhelming when you are surrounded by tons of strangers and are unsure what to talk about. By researching attending businesses beforehand, you can find out about recent projects they have worked on or the new technology they are using.
This will help you pinpoint areas or people of interest so you can make the most of your networking time. We always list a few speakers and the companies they represent on each summit page or you can request a free brochure for the full line up.
Brochures can be requested for every summit through upcoming events > the individual summit event page > request a brochure.
List Out Challenges & Wins
Another tip that will help to eliminate any awkwardness in the networking sessions is to evaluate your challenges and wins. This does not have to be elaborate, you can even think about this as you travel to the conference.
Jot down recent challenges you have been dealing with and a couple of successful projects you have worked on. This will help to refresh the memories of recent work you have done so you can discuss them with your peers.
One of the great things about networking sessions is the ability to get real-time feedback from industry professionals on challenges you are facing or to be able to offer that advice to someone else.
We are proud to offer platforms that create engaging discussions around important topics that push industries into the future. We hope these tips help you feel more confident going into your next networking session and set you up to leave with many business partnerships.
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