How to Use Seminars as a Networking Tool

Seminars are a great way to expand your knowledge about specific industries or trending topics but can also be used a networking tool. Everyone that attends the seminar share a common purpose, to learn about a topic that interests them. Since you already have something in common, it‘s important to capitalize on this unique opportunity to collaborate with peers and network. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of networking at seminars:

  1. Bring business cards and company brochures: When meeting these potential future professional contacts, it is important to give something physical with your contact information for them to remember you later. No matter how good your first impression is on them, there is a high possibility they will forget either your name or phone number, so it is critical they have a business card or brochure for later reference.
  2. Arrive Early: As everyone congregates in the lobby or lines up for the seminar, there is an opportunity to introduce yourself to others and hand out business cards. Make the most of the energy and anticipation in the atmosphere leading up to the seminar by greeting other eager attendees and establishing connections.
  3. Ask Questions: Whether it’s when you are engaging other attendees or introducing yourself to the speakers of the seminar, ask intelligent questions in order to engage others into conversation. If you have something to offer them to establish a connection then ask specifically what you could do for them but if not, don’t be afraid to simply ask them for advice. Being able to mutually help one another develops a strong contact for long-term networking and whether it’s sharing information or boosting one’s ego by asking for advice, asking questions is a great way to establish a bond.
  4. Take Pictures: When developing a fresh new contact, especially one with a large networking circle, it helps to take pictures with that individual while you can. Then when you reach out later, you will be able to refresh the new contact’s memory of you by being able to put a face to the name with the photo.
  5. Stay Late: Don’t book it out of there as soon as the last speaker ends, instead stick around as others linger and strike up conversations about the material discussed in the seminar. Having this common ground to relate upon makes starting conversation easier with strangers and gives you a lead into introducing yourself and eventually, develop a new connection.
  6. Take Notes: As you are worried that your new contacts may forget you, the converse may happen and you may forget them. It is important to write down immediately after leaving the event who you met and any information gathered so in case that were to occur, you have a record to fall back on.
  7. The Next Day: While the seminar is still fresh in everybody’s mind, you should contact those that you met as soon as the next day. State in an email how you enjoyed meeting them and look forward to further interaction. Ask for a specific day or time that is convenient for them to meet again and begin developing a long-term connection.
  8. The Long-Term: Keep in contact with the connections you made at the seminar and make an effort to stay current with any accomplishments or recognitions they receive. Try and be the first to congratulate them on a new promotion or an article that featured their business in the local newspaper. Everyone likes recognition and it will only strengthen the odds of developing a lasting long-term business relationship.

Seminars provide more than just an educational experience and can provide a great way to network with other business professionals. The National Association of Distinguished Professionals holds live seminars where you can utilize the networking tips covered in this article and develop new and lasting business connections. In an online context or face-to-face interaction, these tips will help you make the most out of your seminar experience by providing focus on how to employ networking during these events.

Sources:                                                                                  

Aaron. “10 Tips on How to Network With Speakers at Seminars.” Millionaire At 24, n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2013.

McQuerrey, Lisa. “Networking After a Seminar.” Houston Chronicle. Hearst Communications, Inc., n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2013. .

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