You'll find loads of articles online with advice about attending conferences, industry meetings, and trade shows. Everyone agrees they are an effective way to network and boost your career.
Let's say you've recently attended a conference. Now that you're back and you have a fistful of business cards, what tangible steps can you take to make the most of the contacts you made at the meeting?
Here are 5 things to do after attending a conference that will strengthen your network and advance your career.
- Send personalized LinkedIn requests to fellow attendees you met. The invitation should mention the conference as well as express a hope to stay in touch.
- Send similar requests to industry leaders, speakers or presenters you enjoyed. You may not have met these folks in person, but mention that you heard them speak in the connection request and they are likely to accept! This is a natural way to start a relationship with thought leaders in your field.
- Create a file, paper or electronic, of everyone you met. I create a "secret" Pinterest board for each meeting and pin the LinkedIn profiles of participants. This keeps my contacts organized and reinforces my memory by attaching faces to names in a visual way.
- Ask a few individuals for an introductory phone call or coffee meeting. Expanding your network is the true benefit of making contacts at professional events. If you met someone briefly and want to get to know them better, set up a brief conversation. You may discover areas of mutual collaboration, shared goals, or even a future career opportunity.
- Consider giving a presentation at the next conference. If you really want to make the most out of a professional meeting, submit a session proposal to present on a topic of interest. The best way to establish your expertise in a particular area is to share your knowledge with your peers, so take the plunge!
If you're actively seeking a new position, these tips are particularly relevant. You can also check out my previous blog post How to Meet Your Future Boss on LinkedIn for network-boosting suggestions when you aren't able to attend a conference.
If you have recently attended a conference or trade show, what suggestions do you have for making the most of the experience? Please share your ideas in the comments!
Let's talk about YOUR next step! If you're anticipating a career transition, drop me a note to explore the idea of career coaching. You are invited to sign up for my weekly "Career Authentically" newsletter as well.