IAITAM ACE gives you the knowledge and tools to improve an existing IT Asset Management program in your organization, or to start a program if that is the current need. While you’re bringing home the holistic knowledge of ITAM experts and applicable real-world tips and solutions, you’ll also return with a few new strangers-turned-colleagues!

The following are some networking best practices to consider if you want to make a friend, identify a prospect or just find someone to eat lunch with.

 

  1. Be Prepared (Networking starts before you board the plane to San Diego) Simple tips include:

Stock Up: Prepare yourself with business cards, business stamps and your social media information. Remember to offer only one or two initial channels of communication such as your phone number, email address or LinkedIn. Your new friend will feel overwhelmed if they get your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest handles all at once.

Network on Social Media: Search the #IAITAMACE hashtag on Twitter to find other people attending the conference. Follow them, get to know them, and seek them out in California!

Set a Goal: You won’t be able to talk to everybody in three days and you shouldn’t try to. Set goals that are easily achievable. For example, talk to 5-10 new people per day. If you’re extroverted, aim for more! If you’re more the quiet type, pat yourself on the back for speaking to one or two new people. Remember that networking is about quality, not quantity.

Prepare Your Elevator Explanation: Unlike an elevator pitch, this is a brief explanation of who you are, what organization you work for, and why you’re attending the IAITAM conference. Two sentences should be ample to start with and should be just enough to elicit conversation.

 

  1. Be Approachable

Wear That Smile: Look friendly and wear a genuine smile.  A smile is easy and fun to share when you are having a good time.

Look Like Your Pictures: Do you usually wear your hair up, but it’s down in your LinkedIn profile pic? Consider wearing it like that at the conference so that people will recognize you. Were you wearing glasses in your pic, but now prefer contacts? Again—consider reverting for a few days. Some networking experts suggest you wear the exact same shirt you have on in your LinkedIn picture. If people recognize you, they’ll be more likely to approach you!

 

  1. Be Brave (It takes courage to talk to a stranger!)

What’s the Worst Thing That Could Happen: Ask yourself this question when you feel anxious. The IAITAM ACE is a wonderful event full of practitioners and IT Asset Management industry experts who are just as eager to meet as you are. Open up and be yourself and you’ll find a whole new circle of friends before you know it!

Start by Listening: If a group is having a conversation, listen before you chime in. Once you have something to contribute, add your knowledge or expertise and your name along with it. Greet everyone with direct eye contact, a wide smile and a firm handshake.

What to Say: Don’t know what to say for an opening line other than, “Hi, my name is…”? Try questions like “Can I join you?” or “What do you think about x,y,z…?”. You could reference a recent speaker or session you attended.  You could also ask “did you attend the kick-off party?” or “How about the great food served at the IAITAM ACE?”

Look for Similarities: Try looking for commonalities if you’re having trouble identifying who to talk to in the crowd. Talk to the guy who has the same shoes you do. Talk to the girl who has that purse you’re thinking about buying. Simple bonding can lead to a significant relationship!

 

  1. Be sure to follow up

Follow through with communication: You’ve put a lot of effort into meeting people, communicating, and sharing information both personal and business related. Don’t let that go to waste! Take time to follow up with the people you met in San Diego. Make time during the next week to build on the relationships started at the conference. Contacting these people in a timely manner shows that you care and that you are trying to strengthen the new relationship.

For more help, check out “7 Tips for Networking” by Colleen DeBaise on Entrepreneur.com, or “17 Tips to Survive Your Next Networking Event” by Darrah Brustein at Forbes.com.