With the ISPI annual conference coming up, I thought it might be helpful to provide some networking tips to you. A number of my clients find networking at conferences to be a challenge. Below are some helpful tips that I hope you will find useful.

  • Be an active participant in seminar discussions–be willing to initiate, facilitate, or report on behalf of your small discussion groups.
  • At the end of seminars that really interested you, ask the group if anyone would like to continue the discussion during a break or over dinner. Meet and talk more with anyone who indicates interest, and have a professional discussion on the topic. Be willing to share what you know while respecting others’ expertise and opinions as well.
  • Find out as much about other attendees’, presenters’, and leaders’ professional interests and expertise as you can without coming across as pushy.
  • Exchange business cards. And if you are “between successes,” be sure to have a business card made to bring to the conference.
  • Print stickers for the back of the business cards you take to the conference that say, “We met at the ISPI conference in April 2013”; others may not think to do that, and it will remind them how they know you.
  • Write the topic you discussed on the business card before turning it over–again, this will jog the person’s memory.
  • Link their contact info to your notes about their interests and expertise.
  • Email them the week after the conference to tell them how much you enjoyed the discussion (but do not ask for business or a job).
  • Email them several weeks or months later with a question that interests you on a topic in which they have expertise–do not forget to remind them where you met. See if this develops into a conversation.
  • For the people who would exchange email, follow any paths that present themselves during your discussions that pertain to your long-term or short-term goals.
  • Never eat alone; as much as you may want to recharge, this is the best opportunity to make connections.

See you in Reno!

Marshall Brown is a career and executive coach with a passion for encouraging individuals and organizations to reach exceptional levels of performance. He is founder and CEO of Marshall Brown & Associates, an international coaching, training, and leadership development company. His mantra is simple: Get clear, get focused, get ahead. Additional information can be found at www.mbrownassocites.com.

Marshall is looking forward to attending this year’s conference again and will be facilitating three career workshops and providing one-on-one coaching sessions. Contact Robin Stimson robins@ispi.org for additional information.