How to network at conferences?

Have you secretly envied the smooth and charismatic business tycoon whose networking skills are just to die for? Without even a hint of social awkwardness, this person takes networking just as a duck takes to water. Even more annoyingly, after the event you hear this ambassador of charisma dragging about the amount of converted deals. What is his secret, you might wonder. Our answer - excellent networking skills.

But why should you care about connecting with people? Is it not enough to just deliver an excellent product and the rest is history?

When it comes to your personal efficiency, studies show different. Networking should be part of your startup’s golden ratio, regardless to which industry you are trying to break into. It is been found that successful managers spend 70 percent more time networking than their less successful counterparts (Seibert, Kraimer & Liden, 2001). Managers with rich social networks are better informed, excel at problem solving and showcase more creativity and efficiency. Knowing this, it is evident that networking matters. Nevertheless, too often we are doing it all wrong. Just like you do not run a marathon without practicing, you should not attend a network event without preparation. Arctic15 being around the corner, here are our tips for preparing for networking:

Set up goals for the conference
Going to a conference without having goals in mind is comparable to running without having direction. It might be fun but it sure does not take you where you would like to go. It is good to ask you the following questions: Why have you decided to attend this conference in the first place? Is it investor contacts, media exposure or business partners that you are craving for? Who would you love to meet? Once this is clear, write your goals down and make them as concrete as possible. How many meetings would you like to have scheduled during the conference? How many leads would you like to get? How many business cards would you like to collect? Having something measurable, you can better measure your efficiency.

Plan your schedule
Instead of spending your time running from one stage to another trying to sink in everything that all of our awesome speakers have to say, select a few and then concentrate the rest of your time on connecting with the other professionals. Check the event website to find out who is coming. Write down the times these speakers are up and plan the rest of your schedule around it. Having your conference goals in mind, think who would it be beneficial for you to meet. After researching the person, contact them about meeting up beforehand.

At Arctic15 we have made this extremely easy by offering you Deal Room service. Deal Room acts as a place where where you can schedule a slot to meet investors and speakers. Speakers - that’s right! We have chosen speakers who are not there just to give their speech and run away afterwards but individuals who sincerely want to meet you.

Besides setting up meetings, also consider the side events and after parties. Informal networking is equally (or even more) important as the formal one. Also bear in mind that having a schedule does not mean setting up a minute schedule.

Stalk your prey before attacking
Whether you have a meeting set up beforehand or not, it is vital to stalk your objects in advance. What has the person done workwise in the past? Where are his or her investment interests? Find out all the relevant information about the person. But also go beyond the person’s professional aspirations to find something in common beyond business. What kind of things does the person enjoy in his or her free time? Maybe you manage to even find some surprising aspects about the person you would like to ask about. Google is your best friend with this so do not be afraid to use those stalking skills of yours. If you do not have a meeting set up beforehand, make sure that you know how the person looks like so that you can attack the prey when in sight. (And the prey is a metaphor, act as cool as a cucumber). Having now done a great amount of preparations already before the conference, you are much better equipped to start the game of networking.

Are you looking for a chance to putting your networking skills into practice? Arctic15 and our Deal Room particularly acts as a perfect place for that. Last year 40 percent of Deal Room meetings lead to deals. Pretty impressive, eh? Purchase your tickets to Arctic15 now and get ready to land the dream deal.

Alisa Knuutinen