Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

January 06 2015

How To Maximize Your Networking Opportunities At Convening Leaders

By David McMillin

They’re almost here: the four most valuable days in meetings and conventions. As PCMA gears up to unveil some big plans in Chicago, you can make equally super-sized blueprints for successful on-site networking. Here are some key tips to make the most of your face-to-face opportunities with some of the most powerful decision-makers during your time in Chicago.

1) Shatter your comfort zone.

Going to a conference isn’t just about reconnecting with your friends from last year. It’s about meeting new people, taking home new business cards and gaining new insights from new sources. It’s hard to find all those new opportunities if you focus on catching up with old friends.

So take a seat at Monday’s lunch with people you don’t know. Not a regular at Tweet Ups? Now, you can be. Head to the Tweet & Meet on Monday evening and get your hashtag on. Introduce yourself to an unfriendly face on the hotel elevator. Typically skip the “networking” breakfast for a coffee on your own? Head over early so you can turn that coffee into a new connection. Whatever your regular conference routine may be, make a few adjustments to make yourself feel slightly uncomfortable.

SEE ALSO: The Networking Events You Can’t Miss In Chicago

2) Don’t be afraid to ditch your phone.

With 15 minutes between sessions, it can be very tempting to sneak away to a corner of the convention center to reply to your new emails. However, the weight of those electronic messages can wait. Use the break time at Convening Leaders as a chance to be part of the conference action. This is your handshaking, meeting and greeting, making the most of convening time. Instead of looking at your phone, look for ways to make some new friends.

SEE ALSO: 5 Ways To Make Your Meeting A Better Place To Network

3) Well, don’t go totally mobile-less.

Ok, so you don’t have to throw your mobile device in the trash. With the Convening Leaders mobile app, you can still count on it as your personal guide to upping your friend count. Click here to download, install and unlock the key to navigating the conference.

4) Skip the small talk.

Handing out business cards is easy. Starting important conversations can be a bit more challenging. However, those real discussions are the fuel for turning an introduction into an impactful relationship. Ask your fellow attendees what trends they’re watching in 2015, what goals they’re hoping to achieve this year and how they plan to get there. Give them a discussion that matters, and you’ll give them a reason to remember your name (and answer your follow-up email).

SEE ALSO: These Speakers Will Give You Something To Talk About

Looking for more help planning your Convening Leaders 2015 experience? Click here to check out the PCMA Scheduler tool for a complete breakdown of the who, what, when and where information you need in Chicago.

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