Tips for Effective Networking

The 2019 Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Asia-Pacific Annual Meeting presents a unique opportunity to connect with in-house counsel from throughout the Asia-Pacific region, while gaining insights into best-practice and the key factors driving innovation and change across the global in-house sector. This event offers the opportunity to learn from a range of speakers, to explore new ways of thinking, meet with exhibitors and just as importantly, to connect and engaging with fellow delegates. Meeting and engaging with your fellow in-house is a key part of attending a conference and often the source of the most valuable insights and mutually beneficial connections.

So how may you make the most of them?

Here are 11 tips that will help you make the most of the networking opportunities before, during and after the 2019 ACC Asia-Pacific Annual Meeting.

  1. Have clear goals or objectives. Conferences tend to move at the 'speed of social' these days. That is to say, people are quickly moving from one conversation, session, or event to another. It's easy to get lost in the flow of things, particularly on a one-day event. Therefore, before the event, take the time to identify clear objectives of sessions to attend, who you hope to meet, and what you want to take away.
  2. Be prepared. If there are specific attendees, vendors or speakers you hope to meet and talk to, do your research and prepare well ahead of time. Review their website, LinkedIn profile, blog posts, etc, and search the latest news on their company. Importantly, have your initial questions or a comment prepared ahead of time. Let them know that you value and have an interest in their work and that you would like to take a minute or two at the conference to introduce yourself.
  3. Be approachable. Don't spend all your time outside of conference sessions using your phone, laptop or tablet. By circulating and looking open and engaged, you'll make it more likely that someone else, looking for someone to talk to, will approach you.
  4. Map out a schedule. Know who is speaking where and when in relation to your interests and conference objectives. You can't be everywhere at once, and the best sessions fill up quickly. You don't want to miss the opportunity to be in the session with that 'one' person you're hoping to meet or hear.
  5. There's an app for that. Before you arrive at the conference download the event app and peruse the delegate list for people you'd like to connect with. The conference app will provide a simple interface for saying hello to exhibitors and delegates before and during the conference.
  6. Use social. Tweet or post about the conference while you're there. Tag people you've met, or hope to meet, and make complimentary, positive comments about their session, session topic, panels and the conference itself. Always use the conference #ACCAPAC19
  7. Check the nametag. It's always okay to check out someone's nametag if you want to know who "that someone" is – that's why they're provided at nearly every conference. Be sure your nametag is visible so others can identify you.
  8. Keep in mind most people at the conference are in the same situation as you. That is, they go, thinking that they will know few if any of the other attendees. During the various sessions, introduce yourself to the people on each side of you. Also, engage with fellow attendees through the conference app. You'll build a "conference network" in no time and leave with several new connections and friends.
  9. Bring business cards. Business cards are a valuable asset to have at the ready. It's one of the quickest, most effective ways to introduce yourself and share your contact information. You may have only a brief moment to make contact with someone and handing them a business card is always better than a missed opportunity.
  10. After the conference, don't forget to follow up. You should have a number of business cards from people you've met. Send an e-mail or LinkedIn invite summarising an interesting point from the conversation and suggest whatever follow-up is appropriate (phone call, coffee/lunch, or simply "let's keep in touch"). Where it makes sense, connect the person with others you know personally, where there are shared interests and a likelihood of a valued connection.
  11. Connect socially. In addition to the follow-up mentioned above, be sure to connect socially on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc to stay in contact. Send a brief message with your friend request, reminding the person who you are and thanking them for the time they spent speaking with you.