WCIT 2019 is almost here and you’ve taken our advice on The Grand Design for this huge networking opportunity. Now it’s time for phase two, Execution. What can you expect? What advice do we have for you now? Keep reading and we’ll have you confident and ready to go in no time!
The Game Plan Is All Systems Go
Start off by mingling with the people on your first list (the people you kind of know). Get introduced to new people through them. This is an easy way to start expanding your network. Joining in on a conversation and meeting through mutual acquaintances is a lot more natural than walking up to strangers cold turkey. It will also help you to warm up and practice your talking points. During an event it’s important to be observant, take in your surroundings and follow the buzz online (follow the hashtag #WCIT2019 on Twitter for example). Pay attention to active discussions, topics, people, what was said, what everyone is talking about. Be present. Stay relevant.
Figure Out Where to Stand, Strategy Is Everything
Do not stand at the entrance ready to pounce on people as they enter. For the love of all things good in this world, do not, we repeat, DO NOT get in between people and their food and drinks by standing where they are being served. The best spots to linger are either at a table where people are already eating or at the two ends of a bar where people are gathering after having gotten their drinks. This means that people have already been served and are ready to socialize. Another great place to start networking is when you are stuck in a line. This helps the time to pass by quickly and gives you the opportunity to speak to someone without any unnecessary social awkwardness.
Now’s The Time To Be All Ears
Listening skills are extremely important when networking. Take it from us, the best way to influence people is by being a good listener. Don’t forget people’s names, honestly, that’s just rude. You don’t want to be the one doing all the talking either. If you asked a question, be prepared to listen to the answer, otherwise, they will feel like you aren’t interested and you’re wasting their time. You’re here to create deep connections with people. That means you need to understand what motivates them, what they love, what excites them or is important to them, what their turn-offs are, etc. Instead of asking them questions strictly restricted to work, ask them questions about themselves. People love to talk about themselves, so offer them an eager ear.
You Scratch My Back, I’ll Scratch Yours
Let’s not forget that people who are at networking events are there to make useful connections too. It is an opportunity for everyone to find ways they can be helpful to others and get help in return. So start off by asking the question, “How can I help you?” Be sincere. Be generous. Be considerate. Share information and knowledge. You do not want to go to a networking event asking for a job. You do not want to be taking up a busy person’s valuable time either. You want to create the foundations for a relationship that will last and be mutually beneficial.
Silent Gratitude Isn’t Helpful
Never forget to say thank you. Creating a network is a very personal work. You are trying to build something strong, not temporary, which means you need to be caring, considerate and genuine. Show that you are grateful for the information, knowledge or connections that have been shared. Thank them for their time. After meeting someone, be sure to take some notes about the conversation so that you have something to refer to when contacting them in the future. We all know we’ll be too drunk to remember everything that went down.
Find Something To Follow Up For
Try to find a natural reason to follow up with a person and keep the conversation going after the event is through. Let’s say you had a conversation about AI pets and you JUST found a recent article about it. Keep it in mind to send to your new contact later. Write to them explaining why you thought it was interesting, what your opinion is on the matter and how you hope that they find it helpful. Maybe there is another event happening dedicated just to AI pets that you think they would enjoy going to. If all else fails, just invite them to coffee (where you will pay the bill). Think of a couple of different opportunities for keeping the relationship and communication going long-term.
We know that armed with these useful pointers you’ll strut right into WCIT 2019 with confidence and class. Look over both articles and use them as a helpful checklist just before you head over to this year’s WCIT or any other networking event for that matter. Consider us your friendly hype squad, here to cheer you on and see you succeed. Good luck and we look forward to meeting you soon!