Last week, we shared some of our favorite IT conferences with you. Hopefully, you’ve taken the steps to further your professional education and registered for at least one. This week, we’ll help make sure you’re on your A-game – organized and ready to network – to get the most out of your conference experience.
Staying organized at any conference is crucial to professional success. With so much information being tossed around in such a short amount of time, keeping it all organized guarantees you will walk away with key deliverables and action items.
To keep yourself on track, consider keeping a planner or notebook for each conference you attend and establish clear goals, before you arrive, to help grow your skill set and your business. Take note of the most important items you learn, whether technical or practical knowledge, and the steps you need to put these into practice when you get back home.
Networking is key.
Every person you meet at a conference can be a future resource for your career. Take time to understand who each person you connect with at the conference is, whether consultants, managers or executives, to get the most out of your networking with them. If you are looking to staff a project, focus on finding qualified contractors and candidates. If you’re a contractor looking to fill your jobs pipeline, focus on connecting with managers and executives that use contingent workers to staff projects.
Regardless, each person there can be an asset to you, so reach out. While you are busy doing all this networking, make sure you keep track of everyone you talk to, write down their contact information or grab their card, taking note of how you met them. You never know when they might be a great resource.
Always follow up.
Kudos to you for attending a conference, staying organized and networking your butt off. The work doesn’t stop there, though. It’s time to put this new information to use. Don’t go home and stuff your business cards and notes in the back of a drawer. Set aside time the week you return to review this information and follow up with your new contacts. Showing that you are genuinely interested in what you discussed can be the beginning of a profitable professional relationship, ultimately growing your network and your business.