Take your conference prep a step further — we share tips for better networking and social media connections at conferences like WordCamp Birmingham 2016.
Conferences are a great opportunity to make connections face-to-face, especially in our increasingly digital work environment — but for some of us, networking events can be a total nightmare, especially if we’re not prepared. As we at Infomedia are getting ready to attend WordCamp Birmingham 2016 at the end of this month, we’ve put together a list of our favorite tips for helping the conference process run as smoothly as possible.We included not only the basics, but also a few protips that will help bring your conference prep to another level.
Basic conference prep: Research the topics that the conference will cover.
Take it up a notch: Research the speakers beforehand.
While everyone will most likely know walking into a conference hall what the presentation will be about, not many people take the time to study up on the speakers themselves. Find out what the speakers’ social media handles are and tweet at them during the conference. It will separate you out from the crowd to both the speaker and other attendees.
Basic conference prep: Bring snacks & water.
Take it up a notch: Also bring an extra charger or battery pack.
It’s a great idea to bring sustenance during an all-day event, but don’t forget chargers or batteries for your devices. You’ll most likely be using your phone way more than usual recording speeches, taking down contact information, typing up notes, etc. In fact, if you’re still worried about losing power, go ahead and carry a pad and pen with you as well.
Basic conference prep: Update your resume on LinkedIn.com.
Take it up a notch: Update all your social media platforms.
Nowadays, your social media is part of a more holistic view of your career represented online. If you have a Twitter account, make sure the last tweet didn’t happen two years ago. If you use your personal account for business, cull out any compromising pictures or tweets that may get you into hot water. You may also want to put your social media handles on your business cards to take with you to conferences as a quick way to get your name out. Yes, the business card is still a great way to make a connection!
Basic conference prep: Rehearse a big pitch speech to summarize your career goals and history.
Take it up a notch: Practice keeping your introduction to conference members under a minute.
A lot of networking is more casual now, especially when you can go on Twitter or a personal website to find out more about a person’s business or resume. When you are face-to-face, remember that body language and genuine connection matter more than a litany of credentials.
Basic conference prep: Post and tweet about the conference.
Take it up a notch: Look up hashtags for the conference beforehand.
Hashtags offer a unique opportunity to network online as you network in person. By using official hashtags, it will ensure that more people will see your posts, and you will position yourself as a person of knowledge and notability before the conference is over.
Basic conference prep: Exchange business cards with new acquaintances.
Take it up a notch: Write down what you spoke about with each person on your phone or on his or her business card.
Most people have a hard time following up after meeting — by noting how you met someone and what you talked about, you will become more memorable in any follow-up communication. And do remember to follow up!