Are you ready for tradeshow season? As we make our way through the first quarter of 2012, you may be reviewing your list of tradeshows and conferences for 2012 and getting ready to put on your networking hat. For some, the thought is overwhelming or a bit exhausting. If you’re looking for ways to best prepare for the long list of events, here are a few tips to get yourself in networking mode:
• Research the attendee list prior to the show. Do your homework, know who will be there and set a goal of talking to 3-5 people during the conference to get the most out of your experience. You never know what it may lead too!
• Social media. Track the social media properties of the conference. Do they have a Twitter account and a hashtag? If so, use them! Have your smartphone or tablet ready and applications downloaded so you can easily connect and communicate with other attendees via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Also, check out CardMunch, a LinkedIn iPhone application that lets you easily collect business card information and transfer it to your mobile device.
• Show time. Kick off the day of the conference with breakfast! Like mom and dad said, it’s the most important meal of the day and you wouldn’t want to be caught yawning while talking to a new contact or business lead. Make sure you pack your notebook or tablet to take notes, track leads and trending information that you can take advantage of. Don’t forget to network, network, network!
• Post show. Evaluate your list of new contacts. Send follow-up notes and connect via social media with the contacts that were most relevant to your line of work. Also, don’t forget to evaluate the overall experience. Did you pay to attend? If so, is it worth attending in the future?
Regardless of your experience try to make every new experience worthwhile and beneficial on some level! Even if it is only a few new social media followers.
By, Carrie Crabill