I’m off to Barcelona at the weekend as I am part of a panel debate at the PMI Global Congress in Spain next week. My session is on collaboration tools and tech for project managers.
Today I’ve got 5 tips (and a personal favourite bonus one at the end) about how to get the most out of attending a conference. You make a big investment in going to conferences so it helps to do a bit of thinking and planning about how to benefit while you’re there.
1. Wear Your Name Badge
Make it easy for people to start a conversation with you. Wear your name badge with pride. Women, wear a neckline that’s appropriate for people looking at your chest all day if it’s the type of badge that pins on.
If your badge is on a lanyard consider tying a knot in it to make it shorter so it doesn’t dangle round your middle. That’s a tip for short people like me 🙂
2. Edit Your Badge
It’s OK to take your badge out of its plastic holder and write something on it. I have added my Twitter handle (@pm4girls) to many a conference badge. If the details on your badge are pretty meaningless, add something else, like your department.
Write big and clear. The point of displaying your name badge is to make it easy for people to start chatting, and for them to see if they have anything in common with you. Much of the benefit of conferences is in the informal networking.
3. Give Out Your Business Cards With Care
You’ve packed your business cards, so use them. But don’t force them on people. My rule is that if someone asks for my contact details then I will give them a card.
I don’t offer them routinely to people I meet in the lunch queue because I know that if it was me I wouldn’t want to receive them.
Have your phone available too so you can snap a picture of their name badge and then look them up later to connect on LinkedIn.
The next tip has saved me many times and helped me deliver on my promises!