How to Prepare
Have a Goal
Come up with two outcomes you hope to get out of the event—say, meeting three new people or getting one new job lead. (Or, if you’re going to reconnect with friends, that’s fine, too!) Knowing ahead of time what you’re hoping to accomplish will help you stay focused—not aimlessly wandering around.
Dress to Impress
When you’re planning your outfit, pick something professional—you won’t make an impression (at least, not a good one) if you look dishevelled, disorganized, or overly casual. But also pick something that makes you feel good—a great dress or those new shoes you’ve been wanting to wear will help you exude confidence in what can be an uncomfortable setting.
Bring Business Cards
Bring more business cards than you think you’ll need, and keep a stack of them in a card case. This way, they won’t get dirty or crumpled in your purse, and you can grab them quickly—it’s much more professional to pull your card out of a case then go searching through your bag.
While You’re There
Pro tip: Feeling social? Tweet about us!
Pro tip: LinkedIn Mobile App
If you meet a business leader you want to talk more with later, being able to pull up their LinkedIn profile on the fly and send them a connection request can help you make the best of each interaction.
After the Conference
A few days after the event, send follow-up emails to anyone you met that you’d like to continue networking with. Make sure to personalize each email, letting each person know you enjoyed meeting them and mentioning something that you talked about. A tip: One of the quickest ways to stop a connection is to send someone a generic LinkedIn invite. This is also the time to suggest any follow-up, for example, to ask your new contact to meet up for an informational interview.
Recount what you learned
See your notes again and think about how you can apply what you learned in your career development.
Share the knowledge
Tell your friends about what you learned and how it can benefit them. The more the merrier!