Licensing Expo is less than a month away and your calendars are now filled with back to back 30 minute appointments. Along with these direct meetings, Networking is an essential part the Licensing Expo experience. Here are a few tips to enhance your time at the conference.
1. Be Present and Available. Put your technology away. Do not run to your iPhone, BlackBerry, iPad or laptop at every free moment. When you are working on electronics you send the message that you are unapproachable because you are busy. Utilize the time on breaks to converse with others.
2. Introduce others. When you meet interesting people, be the conduit that connects them with others who might be beneficial to them. If you ask the right types of questions, you will easily spot connections that can help others. Don’t worry about “what’s in it for me”, just be the person who helps others. You will build your credibility and over time others will help you too.
3. Engage Social Media. Prior to the Expo, target industry bloggers and subscribe to their feeds, follow influential people and companies on Twitter and “like” their Facebook fan pages. Then, at the Expo, your information stream will be flowing.
4. Have business cards. This is a no-brainer, but there is nothing worse than meeting someone and not getting their business card, or vice versa. Bring three times as many business cards as you think you’ll need. If you’re actively seeking new connections over the 3 days of Licensing Expo, I can assure you, you’ll use them.
5. Follow up. If you meet interesting people and you never follow up, it makes no difference. Own the follow up after you meet people and send them an email telling them how much you enjoyed talking with them, and plan for future discussions.
Cautionary Note: So often people immediately send social networking link requests to people they just met. However, different people have different policies about whom they link with. It’s best to ask people if they would welcome a request. Be respectful of the fact that they might use social networking differently than you do. A great alternative is to ask them for their Twitter handle and not only to follow them on Twitter, but also to make a brief post about your conversation with them. Promoting other people is a great way to create value for them and build the relationship.