The challenges of mingling at conferences

Just got back from an IBM seminar in social media. I was invited by one of the organizers, Thomas, and as far as I knew I didn´t know any apart from him. But I am one of Copenhagen’s most trained networker… supposedly so-so cool but I have to face it – Face to face networking is just not easy!. Not that I have ever thought so, but I suppose most people would think it to be easy for someone like me.

I arrived to the seminar, casually looking around for Thomas (and if there were others I could recognize). Thomas was in the middle of a conversation, so I waited to find the wright timing. …..it didn’t come and in the end I just attacked him from behind. He did the wright thing as he very quickly introduced me to the person next to me. Now we started chatting and he was free to leave me, if needed.

Next step was sitting in the auditorium. I sat down between people I didn´t know and no one looked at each other or said HI – I imagine this would not happen in Italy? After a minute or two, I just totally awkward leaned forward against the gorgeous guy sitting beside me saying HI. Now we were three people shaking hands but then the seminar started and we didn´t get a change to introduce our selves. The speaker told this: The best way to get in contact with people is touching their body. So he encouraged us to shake hands and say hi. But this is not enough – we need and want more to connect.
After the event they served sandwiches and drinks and what an admission of failure. I LEFT. The thing is, you really have to be in the mood to be good at connecting with new people and the worst thing is, there were a lot of nice looking men hanging around on their own. Ohhh how I, self-employed - on my own consultant, would have loved to talk with some of these people.

So here comes a couple of good advices, for when you do events with more than 20 people. Help them to connect, then your participants will go home in a much better mood, with bigger benefit and thereby remember your event.

Good advices:
Before starting a speech, give the audience a reason and time to say hi to the person next to them

  • Either just by introducing themselves
  • Or chatting about what they know about this theme
  • Let them talk about their reason for being there
  • Let them talk about what they expect to get out of the seminar.

This will be a good investment of the time – but control it and don´t make it too long.