Attending a large conference with peers and mentors is the perfect opportunity to not only network but to power network. The most important characteristic distinguishing a networker from a power networker is being memorable. The next is an attitude of gratitude. This blog contains a number of rules to help you be a One Young World power networker.
Before You Leave
Order business cards that include all of your contact information, including your Skype address, and indicate what you do or the areas in which you are interested. Personal photographs are acceptable in some cultures, but not others, making the inclusion of your photo discretionary. Any other artwork looks unprofessional. If possible pay the extra fee for good quality paper.
Establish a LinkedIn account by filling in as many areas as possible. It is extemely important to complete the “Featured Skills & Endorsements” section. When listing your skills, think not only about where you have been but also where you hope to go professionally.
Ask the individual who is sending you to One Young World, and other professionals who are familiar with you and your work, to write a recommendation for your LinkedIn account.
Once You Arrive
You will have an infinite number of opportunities to power network. The most important rule is to shed your shyness. Unless a discussion appears to be private never be afraid to join a group discussion. Try to avoid the tendency to sit, eat, or relax with the first few people you meet.
Never be afraid to ask for or offer your business card to another young leader, mentor, speaker, or others who you come in contact with. If there is time, and you have a Wi-Fi connection, add the individual to your LinkedIn account.
As for LinkedIn, people endorse others who they have little to no experience with all the time. It is not unusual to endorse one to three skills listed for a new contact at the outset of the relationship. When deciding what skill(s) to endorse you may want to scroll passed the first three options and select one to three skills that are often less endorsed. Often, the person, will in turn, endorse you. At the time, use the thank you option to express your gratitude.
In the Evening
Take out the day’s business cards and send everyone a short note via email. Try to reference your conversation and thank them for the connection.
If someone goes out of their way to help, mentor you, or offers to assist you after the conference, send a handwritten thank you note on a nice note card.