Saturday, August 23, 2014

Face to Face Networking and Why You Need to Take the Shuttle Bus

Like many of you, I’ve been attending conferences, seminars, symposiums and other live events this summer to keep my skills sharp, to network with peers and to get the old (mental) battery recharged. Three big takeaways have jumped out at me:

1.      Even in this 24/7 digital age, humans of all ages still need to connect face to face.

2.      Some of your best networking will take place in the least likely of places.

3.      The air conditioning is always on too strong, whether you’re in South Florida or Winnipeg (but only one gender will voice their discomfort).
Last week’s post “Notice What You Notice” was all about paying closer attention to your surroundings and how you take in information and learn from it. The same goes for professional networking, whether it’s making new contacts, landing new clients or setting the stage for a strategic alliance. In a semi-snarky piece I wrote last week for Association Adviser, a leading publication for trade association execs, I explained why I always take the shuttle bus at large conventions or conferences. That’s where I’ve made some of my best and most meaningful contacts over the years. The shuttle ride is long enough to have a meaningful conversation with your name-badged seatmate—i.e. it’s better than  a superficial “elevator pitch,” but it’s not as risky as striking up a conversation with your seatmate on a cross-country flight. Key Takeaways
Here are some other takeaways that I’ve gleaned from recent events I’ve attended. Let me know if you agree:
·         Well-run live events are still one of the most powerful ways that association professionals can network, learn and share ideas.  
·         Show organizers are realizing how much time and dollar pressure their attendees are under.
·         Attendees come better organized and more focused than ever before and expect you to do the same.
No matter how busy you are, find a way to get yourself out of the office and show up for the “must-attend” events in your industry. You just can't find a replacement for eye contact, body language and serendipitous encounters. And, no matter how long the line is, always take the shuttle bus if it’s offered.
Our blog has more, as does the FREE Resources page of our website.

TAGS: Association Adviser, shuttle busses, networking, power of face to face


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