It's Springtime and the business conference season is in full swing! Conferences are a great venue for networking — in fact, participants usually list networking as one of their top reasons for attending these types of events.
If you have a conference, seminar or workshop on your schedule, then you'll want to make the most of your networking opportunities while you are there. The key is to "plan ahead" for these networking opportunities so that you leverage your time and your connections.
I read an excellent post on Scott Allen's Entrepreneurs Blog that shared the "Top 10 Conference Networking Tips" from author, Thom Singer. Both Scott and Thom have fantastic information and ideas, so rather than "re-create the wheel," I'll share my top 3 from their list. (but you'll definitely want to check out the entire list via the link above).
"Do not automatically send a LinkedIn or Facebook request." This is jumping the gun and one of my newest pet peeves. Really, we've just met and now you want to see personal details of my life? Think about that one. On the other hand, you can follow folks on Twitter to get a sense of what they are like without the depth of commitment of "friending" and "connecting."
"Read their stuff." After a conference, check out the blogs, tweets, books and articles of those you've met or speakers you've heard. Again, it's a great way to get to know a person and their expertise.
"Promote others." Post on your blog or Twitter about those you've met at the conference. It's a great way to start a real connection and shows them it's not all about you.