Tuesday, 6 May 2014
Networking at the Confex
With over 300 exhibitors at the International Confex, it is an ideal place for b2b networking for events companies. With a large central networking area, as well as the countless stands set up with exhibitors just as keen to make partnerships throughout the day, there's very little chance that you won't meet someone who will be able to assist with your business! As I'm sure most readers will be aware, the events industry is one which relies on being proactive which means that most people attending this event will be willing to go straight in to interact with others. This leads to the networking performing really well, although can leave some of the shyer types behind very easily.
Along with the central networking area, following each seminar session there were opportunities to network with fellow event professionals that have similar interests, leading to potential connections.
In terms of how to approach networking at these events, which can often be a daunting experience, Greg McKeown of the New York Times wrote just before the Confex of 3 mistakes that people make when networking:
The first one is to not go crazy with business cards, although it may seem like a good idea to spread your bets and try to make a contact with everyone you meet, one meaningful relationship built can be worth far more than 20 business cards handed out after a two minute conversation. Try to focus your efforts on the potential partners that would mean the most to your business.
Secondly is to make sure you are listening to whoever it is you're talking to. This might sound obvious but with so much going on at these exhibitions its very easy to be distracted. This will show to whoever it is you're talking to, and they won't be keen to do business with someone who won't listen to them for 10 minutes!
Lastly is not to fear missing out. Sometimes the most natural relationships can be formed when not 'on duty'. Talking to people while taking a break can be when the conversation flows most naturally. McKeown spoke of a time at the World Economic Forum for Latin America when he tried to attend everything, but ended up with nothing until the last day, when he took some time off to go to the pool, where having casual conversations actually ended up with business relationships that are still strong to this day!
Do you agree with Greg? Have you got a different method? Let us know