The Best Advice I Received For Attending Conferences Was to…

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Not long ago I had the opportunity to go to my first Internet marketing conference in May at the Search & Social Spring Summit; and to my second one in July to BlueGlass LA. They were great experiences and I was really excited for both. I was going to finally get to meet a lot of the people I had met online and get to hear some awesome speakers. But like some first time conference goers, I was a little nervous about it. So I asked a few industry friends who had been to a few shows for some advice about what to do and avoid doing at my first conferences.

Make the Most Out of the Networking Opportunities

Usually the conferences last two to three days, which isn’t a lot of time to meet everyone there. So it’s good to make the most of the time you get. When you get to the conference make a point to go meet those you’ve connect with online. Meet up with, them hang out and make the most of it. At the same time you need to use the opportunities presented to meet others at the conference. For me at least this is kind of difficult.

When I meet up with people I’ve gotten to know online, I like to sit and get to know them better. But I’ve had to learn to pull myself away and go meet the other conference goers. Networking sessions are good to be social and meet others in the industry so make the most of it.


At BlueGlass LA I had someone walk up and ask me if I was okay, I at least knew the person, I said everything was great but their response reminded me of this advice, “You just had this look on your face like something was wrong.” Smiling and being aware of what facial expressions you’re using is pretty important. I mean how approachable is someone who’s got a complete blank stare of their face or a scowl? This isn’t to say if you get some bad news or something happens at a conference to keep a plastered smile on your face. If something should go awry go back to your room for a bit and resolve whatever it is, then come back and enjoy the conference.

Listen to Others but Don’t Stay Quiet

One of the reasons we network is to tell others about ourselves, but we cannot forget to listen to what others have to say. Some of the best resources/connections I’ve made have come from listening to others during the break out sessions. While it’s great to listen and learn more about others, don’t forget to talk about yourself. It may seem like shameless self-promotion, but let’s be honest, the other part of networking is telling others about you. Prepare your “elevator speech” to open the door to keep the conversation going.

Don’t Compete with Competitors

This is my own advice based on seeing others interact. Networking is not a time to get into an “I’m better than you” contest. Don’t bring up competing for each others clients, what your cost is, or why you’re better. It isn’t the time for it. If you run into a competitor, be cordial and don’t avoid them. I’d even make a point to go shake their hand.

In closing, I want to say the main thing to remember is, just be yourself. It’s one thing to listen to advice and act on it, it’s another to be overly analytical of your behavior. I’m sure there is more advice that could have been added to what’s been mentioned above. So, in your own experience what has worked best for you?

Joshua Titsworth

Joshua Titsworth

Digital Marketing Specialist at Vizion Interactive
Joshua Titsworth is passionate about all things Internet and technology related. When he isn’t online tweeting or blogging, he can be found tracking down shanked golf balls across public courses and watch any Lego cartoon/movie with his kids.
Joshua Titsworth
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  • panah

    I agree with point about not staying quiet but you'd be amazed what people tell you when you do stay quite, which is why I enjoy letting others speak 🙂

    • joshuatitsworth

      There is certainly a give and take when it comes to networking. I'm like you in that I enjoy hearing other speak, but there comes a time when you need to speak so others can learn from you. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Thos003

    “Smile” … my favorite. =)

  • Ret

    Yes. When it comes to networking, especially in socializing – cooperation is better than competition. The competition here – is to compete with the best of yourself. The market is so large as the blue ocean. Hence, we need to support and cooperate for the success of all. Of course of all, I mean all fair.

    • joshuatitsworth

      “Compete with yourself”, I like it a lot.

  • buku1

    I agree wih all your points it is really better to everything and also make a cntribution. I have learnt myself theat networking is the way forward!!

  • Eric Weidner

    Good advice!
    I also received a good tip that I try to follow: always eat BEFORE the networking event – that way you're fresh and don't have to worry about juggling food, biz cards, hand shakes, drinks.

  • Selena Narayanasamy

    I'm actually a pretty shy person (at first) but going to these conferences, and getting out of my comfort zone, has actually made me meet TONS of great and amazing people in this industry. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and force yourself to get out there. I've certainly learned that I'm interested in other people, and they're interested in me as well. Networking is fun and the best part of conferences 🙂

    • joshuatitsworth

      You? Shy? I never would've guessed it. I'm really seeing more benefits of conferences other than hearing great speakers. Building a strong network is also vital.