Networking tips – how to make great contacts at Congress
A good network of contacts can ensure you have access to both professional advice and emotional support. Not a natural networker? Don’t worry because we have some great tips to help you come back from congress with a contact list that’s brimming with opportunity.
Business networking is an art in itself but your goals might be different. Perhaps you just want to share experiences, find moral support or relax in the company of like-minded people. More of us are wallflowers than you might think. It’s often cracking that first barrier to conversation that’s the most difficult step, so here are some ideas that might help.
Sit next to someone in a lecture – don’t leave a gap only to be forced to shuffle along later as the hall fills up. Resist the urge to pull out your phone and get chatting instead.
Ask for help or an opinion – ‘I thought that lecture was quite useful, did you?’ ‘Do you know if they do veggie lunch boxes here?’ Follow up easy yes/ no questions with open ended ones – who, what, where, when, why. Sometimes sharing experiences can help people to open up: ‘We don’t perform that procedure in our practice. Do you? Or do you refer?’ Most people love to give advice or a recommendation so that can also be a good way to develop the conversation (and find out where the best freebies and competitions are in the commercial exhibition!).
Find your tribe: look for commonality and if necessary embrace your nerdy side. Think about the sort of people you want to meet – are you looking for a mentor or a new job, or considering a Diploma and need to ask someone about it? Actively seek out those with the right profile. Tell your friends and ask them to put the word out too.
Establish a means to carry on contact. Business cards are so 2008 and easily lost. Ask if your new contact is on Twitter or Facebook and connect there. Or if you and your new contact own an iPhone connect through Airdrop and add their details straight to your contact list.