If you spend a three-day industry conference sitting quietly in sessions then going right back to your room, you might learn about the newest trends, but you won’t add many new contacts. Maximize your exposure time with these suggestions:
1. Reach out to others beforehand. If you’re looking forward to meeting specific people, look them up on LinkedIn and reach out in the weeks before the conference.
2. Find a good space for planned meetings. Stake out a quiet table to meet with people so you’re not standing in a crowded hallway after a session lets out.
3. Plan ahead to meet with the speakers. Before the conference begins, ask for a few minutes of their time after their sessions so you can establish a relationship and ask informed questions about their speech topics.
4. Allow yourself to change sessions or leave them early. If you’ve gotten all you want out of a session, leave it early to seek out another possibility.
5. Focus on the speakers. Don’t frantically try to write down every word that’s said in a session. Check for handouts or apps that will let you access the written information from the session so you can listen intently and maintain eye contact.
6. Never eat alone. Use meal times to gather with like-minded professionals and meet new people.
— Adapted from “Here’s How to Squeeze a Month’s Worth of Networking Into 48 Hours,” Amanda Pressner Kreuser, Inc.