The most valuable four days in meetings and events are just around the corner. When you aren’t taking a bite from a Texas-sized chunk of knowledge in Austin, you’ll be able to reconnect with old colleagues, strike up conversations with new friends and discuss potential new business partnerships. However, with so many bright minds in one place, networking can feel a bit overwhelming. Follow these four tips to make your Convening Leaders experience more valuable.
1) Book Your Braindates.
Networking is no longer restricted to the who-can-I-run-into-here approach. In 2017, PCMA is embracing technology from Montréal-based E-180 to help Convening Leaders attendees make more powerful connections. Rather than simply meeting, greeting and exchanging business cards, you can sign up for Braindates — one-on-one opportunities to share knowledge with other leaders in the meetings and events industry. I’ve seen Braindates in action at C2 and the Airbnb Open, and they are some of the most productive, fun and relaxed encounters imaginable in a conference environment. Of course, effective dating requires a bit of extra planning. Click HERE to set up your profile and book your meetings for the week.
2) Browse The Attendee List.
With more than 4,000 professionals, suppliers, students and academics at the Austin Convention Center, you may not bump into everyone you want to meet. Rather than hoping that the stars align, take a look at the complete attendee list, and get in touch with any key contacts before you board the flight to Texas. See if they have 15 minutes for an early morning coffee, or invite them to check out one of Austin’s many options for late-night revelry. My advice: go anywhere on Rainey Street and take advantages of the exclusive PCMA offers made possible by the good people at the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Austin Convention Center.
3) Show Up Early.
I know, I know — it’s great to be fashionably late. However, at structured networking events, I recommend arriving early. If you’re flying solo, it feels easier to find fellow attendees before the crowds. Oh, and be extra early for the closing event on Tuesday night. Why? Because seeing Willie Nelson at a private event is one of the best items I have ever added to my personalized convention program.
4) Make Eye Contact.
As you’re jotting down notes on your tablet and checking your messages on your smartphone, you may feel like you’re getting a lot accomplished. While that may be true, you’re missing out on creating a sense of openness to other attendees. Limit the number of times you check your email and scroll through your phone; you’ll increase your chances of trading friendly waves, smiles and business cards with some new friends.
Have you browsed through this year’s program? Check out the sessions and speakers HERE. Safe travels — see you in Austin.