Events

How to Make Conferences Unforgettable

networking tips
Meeting my newest coworker, Matt Wesson, at Connections

Last week I attended Connections 2013 in Indianapolis and Content Marketing World the week before that. Connections, like other conferences I attend, is not only meant to educate and inspire, but serve as a way for you to create, solidify and grow relationships.

Sure, you can go to sessions, work in between them and eat quick meals as you get to your next stop, but why? Conferences set the stage for so much more and it’s your fellow attendees that make good conferences, great.

Connections was the perfect name for this conference. My coworkers from around the globe attended the show (yes, I literally saw folks from Australia). It was an amazing mash up of talent roaming the expo floor and I couldn’t wait to connect with the people that I normally only see via webcam.

I met my newest coworker, Matt (above), in person at Connections and it only deepened the already-growing relationship we had over the phone and via email and IM.

networking
Me and my former coworker, Kerry Gallagher

Meeting up with someone you haven’t seen in a few years (like Kerry above), helps you catch up quickly and get to know the person even better.

Connecting with someone I've only spoken to on Twitter and Google Hangout, Jason.
Connecting with someone I’ve only spoken to on Twitter and Google Hangout, Jason Peck.

Social media connects you with new people but conferences bring that to life with in-person meetings. Jason and I had talked via Google Hangout and Twitter for over a year but never met in person until the conference.

Former coworker and good friend, Jeff Cohen and new friend from Facebook Group, Content Marketing World with fellow Stephanie Montreuil.
Jeff Cohen, and new connection, Stephanie Montreuil.

You can plan to meet people ahead of time at conferences, like I did with my good friend Jeff at Content Marketing World. We both knew Stephanie (above) from a shared Facebook Group and we were excited to see her and take this picture, which, of course, was uploaded to our shared Facebook Group.

No amount of online interaction can replace face-to-face discussions. This is one of the most valuable aspects of a conference. If you’re going to a conference, send a Tweet asking your network if they’re attending. If you get some bites, plan to meet up. And always say hello to the person sitting next to you. New relationships start at conferences, too.

How do you like to connect with people at conferences? What are your tips for making great conferences even better?

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