Building Your Network (and Net Worth) via Conferences

Intergalactic Future, here we come!

I hit up a conference this past weekend on the nerdiest of topics – Artificial Intelligence and the Impact on the Legal Profession.

Snore?

Well, here’s the thing: one man’s dirty laundry is another man’s heaven. So forget what other people might think about a conference topic, just f–king GO!

So I did ‘go’.

Do you ever go to a conference, without a game plan? I sure do and every time I hit my head on the wall lamenting that.

Hit Head
Repeating your failures is akin to hitting your head against the wall.


Because here’s thing thing: conferences are a ripe opportunity for your to meet new contacts. This leads to potential opportunities to make new friends, future employers, future referrals, and so on. At the very least, you can learn something not only from the conference panelists, but the people you meet.

Here are some things I did “right” that you can consider as habits to adopt:

  • Taking notes – I mean, literally, have a notebook (preferably a hardbound one over a legal note-pad that can wrinkle) AND a pen…and, like we did in grade school, JOT DOWN SOME OF THE POINTS made by the speakers. You will better remember some bright ideas…or at least keep you awake
  • No laptops or distractions – OK, I cheated here as I had my phone and I sometimes chatted on BBM. But only briefly. You will do no good to be opening five Facebook chat windows and pretending to multi-task (multitasking is a myth, despite what my female readers tell me)
  • Search out familiar faces – luckily, I knew a few people…which is lucky, because they in turn know a few people that you can meet…and exchange digits, I MEAN, ideas

Here are a few things where I could improve:

  • Bad eating habits – conferences usually offer goodies (more like ‘baddies’) like cookies, sweets, copious coffee doses, and carbs. These will wreck your stomach because your body can’t process so much. I have routinely downed pop, snacks, bread…and shrug it off as ‘conference calories’.
  • Mental lapses – while the speaker is about to unleash that brilliant ah-ha idea, my mind wanders and f–k, I MISSED what he said. There goes my millions of dollars I would have made. Lesson: Really force yourself to live in the moment
  • Following up… you meet people, maybe exchange contact info…and then what? It’s like the girls I pick up. The thrill of meeting someone new. Then next day, it’s like “I’m tired.”

People don’t really think about going to conferences strategically. If they’re free, maybe that’s OK but that’s still an investment of time. If you have to pay to get in, then you want to be more practical and purposeful when going.

If interested, we can discuss:

  • developing your ‘why’ for attending conferences
  • goals to achieve when attending conferences
  • myths of networking
  • how to pick-up at conferences
  • …and much, much more!

Just let me know what questions you have via the comments section or via email. I check it all!