So you’ve made it to the big leagues. Your job is going well, but you’re still out looking for something to keep yourself motivated, grow in your profession and move up the ranks. Your coworker tells you about a conference that’s coming up and you decide you’ll go too.
Take in that smell of freshly starched clothes, decent coffee, and bran muffins, because that’s what you’ll smell for the next three days of the seminar. But that’s not why you’re reading this—you want to know how to keep up with the buzz and stay ahead of the curve. Remember that networking is essential to your communication throughout the event. This list of 10 tips and guidelines to follow should help you get the most out of the conferences and seminars you attend.
1. Firm Handshake
Ah, yes, my favorite cliché. I know this may seem like a joke to you lot, but a firm handshake goes a long way. It shows that you’re strong and self-confident. In a study at the University of Alabama, students developed methods to assess their subjects’ grips by rating handshakes based on the completeness of grip, temperature of skin, dryness, strength, duration, vigor, texture, and eye contact. The study showed that a person’s handshake is consistent to some aspects of his or her personality. Firm handshakes showed extraversion, openness to new experiences, and less neuroticism and shyness than those with a looser handshake.
2. Sell Yourself
No, not literally. When you’re meeting someone new, you only have a few seconds to make an impression, so don’t take the phrase “dress to impress” lightly! Wearing a nice watch or bracelet can also be a conversation piece. Stay poised, polished, and intelligent in everything you say and do. Remember, you’re selling yourself. Talking about your many accomplishments and accolades is important so don’t overplay it but also don’t be too humble or else you give little insight into your capabilities.
3. Remember Names
If you remember the episode of The Office where Michael tries to remember that bald guy’s name (I ironically can’t remember his name) that’s exactly what you’re trying to do. Remembering names gives people the understanding that they’ve made an impression on you for you to be able to remember their name. Use mnemonic devices to remember names. For example, you’ve just met Stan the head of the marketing department of a major company; to remember his name you tell yourself, “Stan, the man from Uzbekistan.”
4. Always Keep Business Cards
Keeping business cards are beyond essential for your networking. This way the people you meet will have the opportunity to be able to message stay in contact with you. Make sure that your business card has good aesthetics, making it much more memorable compared to other business cards and make sure it has all of your relevant and updated information on it. It’s important that you stay available for potential future partnerships.
5. Actively Listen
When you’re having a conversation with someone, refrain from nodding. You don’t need to constantly nod for approval from a new partner or superior. When you do incessantly nod, it gives them the idea that you’re not actually listening. No one wants “yes men,” if they did, a business would never thrive. Businesses need to have open dialogue for everyone to pitch (good) ideas. So instead of just agreeing, be active in the conversation. Don’t be afraid to give your opinion and bounce ideas off of the person you’re having a conversation with. You are not a brick wall.
6. Keep An Elevator Pitch
As ridiculous as it may sound, you should always keep an elevator pitch. What is an elevator pitch? It’s when you highlight anything and everything I would possibly need to know about you in 15-20 seconds. It sounds daunting, but it’s definitely feasible. When you’re in the elevator with someone you would want to network with, you don’t want to awkwardly trail off or be unable to finish talking to that person.
Remember to SCAT. Start introducing yourself, charm the person you’re talking to, attack with information, and top it off with a handshake. These four tips are essential to getting the most value out of your time at the conference.
7. Schedule Coffee Meet Ups
Going out for coffee with a potential client, network, or employer doesn’t mean that you’ll have to marry them. You’re only feeling the territory to get a better insight into the person and company. It’ll not only let you know about what you may be getting involved in but also gives you a chance to show them the best you in a much more relaxed and calm environment.
8. Keep Your Hashtags Relevant
This may seem ridiculous, but you’re not a teenager (if you are a teenager trying to make it in this world kudos to you). #Thetragedyofthesuperlonghashtag must stop. When you’re tweeting at the event, you need a little more professionalism (we all love a few jokes here and there, but long hashtags are embarrassing). Also find out if the event has a specific hashtag that they’re using, so you can find out what people are tweeting about around you. Make sure that they’re not on an irrelevant topic as well.
9. Tweet Nicely
When you’re tweeting about the event, be sure you talk about how nice it is and don’t tweet about problems that you’re experiencing. You’re not a conference critic (they exist). So think twice before you tweet.
10. Don’t Spend All Your Time On Social Media
Social media can lead to you being pretty antisocial. Sure, you might get a few opportunities using it. But while you’re at a conference, take advantage of all of the resources around you. Put your phone down, socialize, network and have fun!
This concludes tips for you to remember at conferences. Let us know how they work for you in the comments below!