With over 10,000 attendees, three days of programming, Smart Monday, appointments, meetings and events, is networking at IMEX overwhelming or is IMEX a can’t miss networking event? Take a look at the 2013 IMEX America stats.
You’ll get more out of the conference when you focus of one of IMEX’s biggest benefits: making connections that help you build your career and grow your business.
Because going to any major conference can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time, here are a few tips on how to make the most of IMEX networking – even if you’re not at the show in Las Vegas.
Get Focused on IMEX Opportunities
Hali Cooper, MPI CAC president and director of business development for Meeting Expectations, says IMEX America is all about networking. "With so many opportunities to network, it's important to be focused. Hosted buyers meet with at least eight new contacts a day. For me, I chose to focus one day on tech vendors. Another day will be dedicated to exploring destinations I know my clients will want to know more about," Hali says.
Set IMEX Networking Goals
John Nawn, president of The Perfect Meeting highly recommends that everyone who attends IMEX think through their goals and objectives for attending. “Generally speaking, people have vague goals around ’networking’ and ‘education’ but I challenge folks to get more specific - much more specific. After all, that’s the key to successful goal setting,” John says. “As you set your IMEX goals, think about how many new contacts you want to make and who you already know that you want to meet up with while you’re there.” John also suggests going to as many Smart Monday sessions as you can.
Do Your Homework
For me, a first-time IMEX attendee and speaker, I’m mapping out my schedule in advance. I’m also reading as many blog posts about the conference as I can find like this one, the IMEX Survival Guide on EventManagerBlog.com, which gave me some great networking insights like Fresh Dinner on Tuesday night. Even if you can’t go, you can see who will be there and you can connect with them on LinkedIn.
Make the Most of Every Opportunity
Practice how you’ll approach each networking opportunity so even when you’re ready for a nap, you can be on your toes. To take the pressure off, be more interested in the person you’re talking to than in promoting you and your company.
The more you know about who they are what they do, the better you can customize your introduction. Looking for an easy conversation starter? Ask everyone the same question. Something as simple as “What are you looking for at IMEX?” or “What’s your best IMEX moment so far?” will give you the opportunity to hear more what’s important to your newest connection.
Not going to IMEX this year?
Even if you’re not checked into a hotel in Las Vegas, you can still interact with the IMEX community and follow the #IMEX14 conversation on twitter @IMEX_Group, Facebook and LinkedIn. Look for companies and people you’d like to get to know better. Retweet, like and reply to their comments so they’ll know who you are. You never know where one small exchange can lead.
About the author:
Barbara Rozgonyi is an innovative event marketer, a frequent MPI speaker / trainer, and a member of MPI-CAC’s MarComm committee. Going to IMEX? You can catch Barbara speaking about Panoramic PR: How to Win Over the World with a Captivating Personality and a Stellar Reputation on October 16. And, you can sign up for a 20 minute consultation with Barbara in the IMEX Meet the Expert Clinic. Visit Barbara’s top 50 marketing and PR blog, http://wiredPRworks.com, for tips, tools and tactics that will improve your event marketing and your results.