With the summer coming, many African-Americans in the corporate world will be heading to various locations nationwide to partake in the conference season, during which many professional organizations leverage great weather to combine business with pleasure. Attending conferences is an excellent way to build your network, which is critical to current and future job searches. For entrepreneurs, meeting new people is essential for finding customers. If you plan to partake in one of these premiere meet-and-greets, don’t just show up with business cards and hope for the best. Gisele Marcus, Harvard MBA and networking expert, offers her top tips for getting the maximum benefit from your conference investment. Make your registration and travel costs worth the expenditure with her easily-applied advice:
1. Set an objective for conference attendance.
This could be to find a mentor or meet new customers.
2. Plan your schedule beforehand.
Many things occur at conferences simultaneously, so use the information on the conference site to determine which panels and social events are most important — and schedule some down time!
3. Find out which attendees you want to meet.
It’s great to let chance lead you to new contacts, but ideally you will also plan a list of panelists and guests to connect with. This will narrow down the flow of new contacts to navigate, and ensure potential contacts are in alignment with your goals.
4. Research the persons or organizations you’re interested in.
Once you know who you want to meet, or what companies you’ll seek introduction to, do a thorough web search to learn important details about these entities. Knowledge of these parties can serve as the common basis for striking up conversations.
Like these tips? Read the rest of Gisele Marcus’ advice on Your Black World, and leave your comments below. What are some of your favorite ways to make the most of a conference? Can you recommend some interesting, approaching affairs? Leave your comments below!