What are some ways to build meaningful relationships at large conferences?

I will be attending WWDC14 and want to make the most of my trip to San Fran.


This is an important question that I am often asked as my clients prepare to make the most of their time at large events. Remember, your primary purpose for attending is to establish meaningful connections. Sure, you might hear and exciting speaker or two, but the most important reason to go is to connect with others with whom you can exchange "value." To make the most of your time there, be sure to do some pre-conference prep and outreach. Find out who is going to be there -- everyone from speakers to attendees to vendors to organizers. Research them and connect in advance to express your interest in meeting them at the event. And, once you are on the scene -- be present. Engage, ask questions, stay focused on the person or group with whom you are interacting at the moment. Your attentive curiosity will help to forge the relationship. For more details, check out Happy to discuss further, as necessary. Good luck!

Answered 10 years ago

Start with genuine interactions that you follow up with at the conference an online. Start networking now and then plan to deepen connections at conference. Whatever you do don't try to meet as many people as possible and then have little time to follow up due to so many.

Answered 10 years ago

Great question - if you are spending the time and money, might as well make it super useful! Love the emphasis you did on "meaningful" - to me that is only achieved if you "rapid fail" a number of interactions that are not, so you have a chance to get to people who are the ones you can engage with. This can be best accomplished by creating a large enough volume of interactions and then pursuing the most useful ones:
1. As soon as you are thinking of going, post on LinkedIn and Twitter (and maybe Facebook depending on whether you are using it work-related or not) - say you are thinking of going and ask if anyone else is. Several days later, post again and ask has anyone been in past years, and what did they think. Then post again, to tell folks you are signed up to go. Don't worry, this is not spamming - as most people miss most posts, you will be lucky to have a few replies.
2. Also check Reddit and Quora - similar approach - esp if you are in Tech.
3. Before attending, use the Twitter hashtag and share your excitement to attend, questions you would have for given topics or speakers and add their @name - many actually reply! Make yourself a Twitter list for the event.
4. At the conference, continue to engage on Twitter. If they have a conference app such as Bizzabo, register and see who else is at the event.
5. "Speed date" networking: When waiting in line at the lunch or sitting down with strangers, ask not about the weather, but state something new you have learned at the conference, and ask them what is their take away. If nothing meaningful, wish them a great conference and move on till you find someone who gives you an interesting answer - then engage.
6. Sometimes I use clothing/bag to engage - as I am a Canadian - a logo from my home town and country usually gets folks to approach me and start a conversation (one of which by the way led to an impromptu memorable chat with Biz Stone). A T-shirt from a given tech tool /company I use also gets like-minded people to reach out.
7. Last but not least, at the event, smile and have fun, and go for what you feel like doing. One of my best work connections was made when I skipped a session at the SalesForce Conference in SF and instead played in the conference provided giant chess in the sun outside. Things happen in mysterious ways, so follow the force!
And congrats for being selected for the WWDC14... I hear it's not a given. ;)

Answered 10 years ago

First like I usually tell dome of my clients start by scanning the room and know the kind or class of people there then try as much as to listen to what people are saying at the conference people love when others are listening to them then you ask them questions related to what they are talking about then you also know to show you are listening to then and also maintain eye contact to allow them know you are listening to them and you can also make a slight hmm sound to allow them know you are enjoying what they are saying and also smile and be cheerfully .

Answered 16 days ago

Attending a large conference like WWDC14 is a great opportunity to build meaningful relationships. Here are some strategies to help you make the most of your trip to San Francisco:

### 1. **Prepare in Advance**
- **Research Attendees and Speakers**: Know who will be there and identify people you want to connect with.
- **Plan Your Schedule**: Highlight sessions, workshops, and networking events that align with your interests and goals.

### 2. **Set Clear Goals**
- **Define Your Objectives**: Decide what you want to achieve, whether it’s finding potential collaborators, gaining insights, or meeting specific individuals.
- **Create an Elevator Pitch**: Prepare a brief introduction about yourself, your projects, and your goals.

### 3. **Leverage Social Media**
- **Join Online Groups**: Participate in pre-conference discussions on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, or specialized forums.
- **Use Conference Hashtags**: Engage with other attendees using event-specific hashtags to start conversations and set up meetings.

### 4. **Attend Networking Events**
- **Join Meetups and Socials**: Participate in informal gatherings, parties, and side events where networking is more relaxed.
- **Be Open and Approachable**: Smile, make eye contact, and show genuine interest in others.

### 5. **Engage in Sessions Actively**
- **Ask Questions**: Engage with speakers during Q&A sessions to make yourself known and initiate follow-up conversations.
- **Take Notes and Follow Up**: Note down key points and follow up with speakers and participants afterwards to continue the conversation.

### 6. **Use Conference Apps**
- **Connect Through the App**: Many conferences have their own apps for networking. Use these to schedule meetings and keep track of contacts.
- **Set Up Meetings**: Reach out to attendees in advance to schedule one-on-one or small group meetings.

### 7. **Create and Share Content**
- **Live Tweet or Blog**: Share insights and updates from the conference to attract like-minded attendees.
- **Capture Moments**: Take photos and notes to share on social media or your blog, tagging relevant people to build connections.

### 8. **Be Genuine and Curious**
- **Show Interest in Others**: Ask about their work, projects, and interests. Listen more than you speak.
- **Offer Value**: Think about how you can help others or share useful information.

### 9. **Follow Up Post-Conference**
- **Send Personalized Messages**: Follow up with new contacts via email or LinkedIn, mentioning specific things you discussed.
- **Stay Connected**: Keep the conversation going by sharing relevant articles, inviting them to other events, or arranging future meetups.

### 10. **Attend Workshops and Smaller Sessions**
- **Engage in Interactive Sessions**: Workshops and smaller breakout sessions provide more opportunities for interaction and collaboration.
- **Participate Actively**: Volunteer for activities or discussions to make a lasting impression.

By being proactive, prepared, and genuinely interested in others, you can build meaningful and lasting relationships at WWDC14 and beyond. Enjoy your trip to San Francisco!

Answered 14 days ago

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