“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”
-Woody Allen, Collider interview, 2008
Two straight days of networking
As you step through the front door of RoboBusiness 2016 in San Jose, start counting. Out of the first ten people you count, seven are there to network, three are not.
Keep counting, if you like, but rest assured that enough studies have been done to conclusively show that the 70-30 rule applies to every conference. RoboBusiness is no exception.
So if you’re not at RoboBusiness to network, you and the other 30 percent of attendees have got some serious soul searching to do to justify your investments. First comes the conference fee, plus there are flight schedules, meals and hotel rooms to consider. Putting work and family life and that Little League game on hold for two days can be challenging as well.
So, good luck to the 30 percent as they drift off to try to figure out their next step or to-do.
What the remaining 70 percent of networkers need to decide is what kind of networking they are willing and able to carry out during the two-day conference. What goals are most important to achieve?
Face-to-face networking comes in many shapes and sizes:
- Some people network looking for investment
- Others look for buyers for their goods, skills or even to sell their company
- Some search for collaborators, partners and like-minded colleagues
- Some look for new tech for their research projects
- Some look for employment and job referrals
- Some search for content knowledge and ideas
- Some hunt for opportunities to meet keynoters or session speakers
- Some seek out new friendships, even soul mates
- Then there are some that do a smattering of all eight above
- And then there are some “outliers” who network for previously unheard of reasons
How about you? How will you spend your networking budget? Will that budget maximize your investment in RoboBusiness?
Is serendipity good enough?
The above list of 10 represent lots of networking opportunities. For over a decade, RoboBusiness has a solid reputation for supplying a fertile atmosphere for great face-to-face meetings and serendipitous encounters.
Wonderful collaborations, friendship making, and successful businesses encounters have been a part of every RoboBusiness event; the 2016 meetup is shaping up to be the equal of or to surpass past RoboBusiness venues. Be there and see for yourself. But, please come with a networking plan.
Networking via serendipity is always exciting and full of awesome possibilities. However a bit of planning to any trek into serendipity can help you to be much better at maximizing yourself between September 28 to the 29th and in the end to walk away with better outcomes.
5 common sense tips to better networking
A veteran of 17 years of planning meetings gave me the lowdown on how to crush conference networking. She broke it down into 5 common sense tips for success.
First off, she offered her general take on conference networking: “While conferences are an opportunity to take your career to the next level, they can be intimidating and confusing. What are you supposed to do when you get there? This fear and uncertainty explains why most people fail to maximize their conference time and investment.
“Unfortunately, most conferences attendees don’t leverage the massive opportunities in front of them… and end up leaving the conference feeling like they could have done more.”
Okay, points well taken. So, just to be on the safe side, here are 5 tips to remember while getting yourself ready to network. I’m told that they work every time. Hey, what’s to lose? Why not give them a whirl…or at least some consideration?
Make every minute count
That would seem logical, but it’s surprising how many people overlook or just plain squander time.
RoboBusiness offers up eighteen hours of networking opportunity, including two networking lunches and two networking cocktail meetups. You could assemble a houseful of IKEA furniture in that time span.
And then there’s always after hours when you could invite a few choice prospects out to dine or for drinks.
Yes, interviews. Lead with value for the prospect. Instead of introducing yourself to someone and looking needy, switch things up and interview for your next blog entry (even if you don’t have a blog). You’re giving free publicity, not just picking their brain. It’s more an exchange of equal value.
Schedule meetings in advance
Before you arrive in San Jose, contact those attendees you want to meet, and then coordinate your interview.
There are 6 tracks, 35 sessions and 39 speakers at RoboBusiness. You should be able to schedule exactly who you need to see in advance. In this way, you’ll avoid waiting in the long lines after a speaker’s presentation and the speaker will be more predisposed to speak at length.
It’s about them, not you
Well, it’s really about you, but don’t let on that it is. Sincerity is always welcome. Try to build a few high-potential relationships rather than exchange your card with everyone. Don’t try to sell to everyone you meet. Relax. Talk about them, not you.
Keep to your schedule of interviews, be aware of your time budget, and open yourself to a bit of pure serendipity when available.
Keep in touch
Do follow-up, and do it immediately. Social media and email will keep your interview fresh, especially if you really hit it off.
Got your own website? Then send the link to each person you interviewed; and if not your own website, a special email attachment with a personal remembrance of the meeting, plus a little more on your talents. Can’t hurt, and it’s so easy to do.
Woody Allen is probably correct about the 80 percent, but it’s the twenty percent that’s the real difference maker.