In our last post we shared expert advice for meeting planners trying to create effective networking events for the Gen-Y crowd when facing continual competition from smartphones and other technology.
A 2015 report released by Skift and Meetings Means Business showed that millennials still see networking and relationships as an important part of the path to professional success.
We reached out to Rosa Garriga Mora, a Barcelona-based meeting architect, seeking advice for meeting planners and attendees when facing this challenge. See advice for planners in our previous post. Attendees, keep reading.
Do your research:
One of the tips for planners was to share the attendee list with the group. If they made the effort to do that, use it. Research whom you want to meet so you can make the most of your time at the event.
No list? Monitor the conference hashtag, event page or other social channels to see who is talking about it and start making your own.
It’s OK to be shy, but don’t let that make you miss opportunities, Garriga Mora said. Attend the networking events, and don’t be afraid to make the first move. “Try conversations with people you don’t know.” (And put your phone in your pocket.)
Be interested more than interesting:
Of course you want to grow your network, or maybe you’re actively looking for a new job. But that’s not how you start conversations.
Garriga Mora said if you’ve done your research, you have information to help you engage. Ask people about their experiences.
“That’s how you are being interested instead of interesting,” she said. “After the conversation, if there is a good feeling, then naturally you’re going to exchange business cards.”
LinkedIn is a logical and easy way to do this, Garriga Mora said.
“Find them on LinkedIn and send them a personal message. Not the default message, but, ‘Hey, I loved meeting you at this and speaking about that. If I can help in anyway, let me know.’”
Have any more advice for attendees? Please share in the comments.