PI LIVE and the co-located Influencer Marketing Show are just around the corner and for some, the idea of networking at a two-day event causes you to panic, but this doesn’t need to be stressful. Conferences are great for building meaningful connections and provide excellent business opportunities if you can get networking right.
Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start, so if you’re new to PI LIVE and the co-located Influencer Marketing Show, or would consider yourself an introvert when it comes to networking at large events, here are some top tips for coming out of your shell and making sure you leave the shows with a list of people you can continue to build strong relationships with:
1. Reach out beforehand via the event app
If you haven’t already, register on the event app and start scouting out those who have similar interests and you would like to connect with. Pre-networking can make it easier on the day - just make sure you go in with the intention of building a few really great relationships as opposed to feeling like you have to speak to everyone!
2. Be prepared
Research other attendees and what they do and where their expertise lies; these are the people that can help better connect you to your industry and share their knowledge. You can set up meetings beforehand via the app and practice your introduction for the real deal. Have your business cards at the ready, your Twitter handle on the tip of your tongue and LinkedIn profile updated for starters.
3. Get social
Join in the conversations on social media using the #IMSHOW18 and #PILIVE18 hashtags so other people can see you’re there – whether that’s tweeting your favourite sessions, messaging the people you hope to meet or the people you want to notice you. Engage with fellow attendees and use the hashtags for the opportunity to see your tweet up on the interactive walls dotted around the event.
4. Map out your schedule
Know who is speaking where and at what time in relation to your interests and conference objectives. You can’t be everywhere at once so book those sessions you don’t want to miss to ensure you bump into the right people.
5. Start a conversation
Have a bank of questions ready to pull out the bag when chatting to new people, so breaking the ice comes a little easier and more natural. Perhaps start by asking their name, what they do, where they work, what they’re enjoying and what they’ve learnt so far.
6. Be approachable
Just smiling will encourage people to approach you and use your conversation starters to spark the chat.
7. Let them talk
Ask their opinion in advance on an industry issue or decision they are in the middle of making and you’ll often find that they will do all the talking and will be more than happy to share their knowledge with you!
8. Find a friend
Find a conference friend to make it easier to approach people. Plus, you won’t have to do all of the talking!
9. Remember you’re not the only one!
Attendees won’t know everyone, so people will be in the same boat as you. Everyone is super friendly and after all, you’re only human!
10. Follow up with your connection
Email those you met at the event and connect on LinkedIn - they are more likely to remember you from the event. Don’t wait too long after the conference to get in touch while they’re still fresh in your mind. It will show that you’re keen and share a similar interest in a topic you perhaps discussed at the event.
Networking opportunities at the event
There are plenty of opportunities to network at the event, including the unmissable networking hour and a half on the Mezzanine. For those interested in influencer marketing, join Takumi for relaxed networking drinks while LJ performs her acoustic set on the Dome Stage.
There’s also the Beer Garden, which is an ideal spot to grab a pint or two with clients. Plus, it’s open throughout show hours and lively conversations are sure to be flowing. The Nookery with communal and sponsored Nooks is the perfect meeting space, complete with sound insulation, power, lighting and an optional LED screen. For a little bubbly, head to the Prosecco Lounge, with comfy sofas and an array of high tables and chairs, and chat to a backdrop of smooth jazz. It’s the perfect pit-stop for showcasing products and meeting new companies over a glass of bubbly!
The Dome Stage Pit-Stop offers a number of seats and an all-important coffee station for you to recharge and acts as a meeting place for scheduled meetings.
Join the conversations using #IMSHOW18 and #PILIVE18 hashtags, and be sure to register on the app so you can start networking straight away.