The Top 8 Networking Do's and Dont's at IFMA's World Workplace
Are you getting ready for IFMA WW2015 in Denver, Colorado? You should be, it's next month! Now is the time to make plans for what to do and what to avoid doing to make the most out of this opportunity. Here's your planning guide.
DO Dress for Success
Dress conservatively and professionally so that vendors and other attendees will take you seriously.
Unfortunately, attending IFMA's World Workplace conference is not quite a vacation. It's work. Even though you're away from the real work, you still need to dress to impress. As much as 80 percent of other people's opinion of you is based on your appearance, and they've made important determinations about you within seconds of meeting you. Look your best!
DO Map Out a Plan for What Speakers, Exhibits, and Vendors You Most Want to See
There are hundreds of training/educational sessions, vendors, and exhibits to see, and there is simply no way you will have time to visit all of those. Develop a realistic game plan before you go and schedule how you will see the most important things, while leaving yourself room for any conversations, meetings, or other delays you don't know to plan for. Put room in the budget for resting, snacks, and visiting the restroom, too, as there are often lines and delays.
DO Hand Out Business Cards
For every 2,000 business cards you hand out, you can grow your business by 2.5 percent. So stock up on cards before you leave, keep an ample stash with you at all times during the conference, and press cards into every hand you shake while at IFMA's World Workplace 2015. Don't let opportunities pass you by! And who knows, you may even win something if you drop a business card in an exhibitor’s fish bowl.
DO Follow Up With Anyone You Promise to Get Back With
If you say you'll find something out and get back with someone, be sure to follow up as soon as possible. Keep a pen and paper handy during the conference, or better yet, use a mobile app to take notes and make yourself reminders. Some questions you'll be able to answer once you return to the hotel and power up your laptop, but others might require further research after you get back to work. Just be sure you make it clear how long it will take to get an answer, and to get that answer to them ASAP.
DO Spend Time With Others Who Have Tried the Products You're Considering
You probably have at least one major product to look into while you're at IFMA WW2015. Maybe you want new facilities management software or carpet cleaning. Try to find other customers of the vendors you're looking into and get their first-hand advice before making that large investment. A face-to-face conversation is always more meaningful than any reviews and commentary you read online. Not only can you ask about what matters most to you, but you can also get a feel for the users' true satisfaction with the product.
DON'T Walk Around With Your Head Crammed in Your Phone
Having your face stuck in your phone sends the message that you're unapproachable. Even worse, concentrating on your phone instead of the event could cause you to miss valuable opportunities.
Whether you're texting with your head down or have a Bluetooth glued permanently to your ear, constant phone use does two things at IFMA WW2015, and both of them are bad. First, it makes you look unapproachable, meaning you won't get the most out of being there. Second, it takes your focus off the conference, and you're there to glean useful information and new make contacts. The phone stands in the way of both these things. Put your phone away until later and make the most out of your time at the conference.
DON'T Waste Time
You really don't have time to sit at the bar, wander the Denver attractions, or spend too much time chatting about football or politics with the other attendees or vendors. You will already be pressed to see the educational programs and exhibits you really need to see. Avoid drinking too much, excessive idle chit chat, sleeping too late, or other useless distractions. If you need to get out of an awkward or overly-long conversation at IFMA WW2015, do so professionally and politely.
DON'T Forget to Connect With the People You Meet Via Social Media (But Not Until the Right Time)
It's an awesome idea to connect with the people you meet on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media, but you don't want to do this on the spot because it makes you seem overly anxious. Instead, wait until you return to the hotel in the evening or when you get back to the office after the conference is over to make your social media connections.
With careful planning ahead of time, your attendance at IFMA WW2015 can be a significant advantage to your business and to your job. Just one more don't: don't forget to enjoy yourself!