Networking 101: How To Get the Most Out Of Your Conference Experience

4 min readApr 23, 2018

Whether you’re a business professional, corporate CEO, artist/creative, freelancer, or entrepreneur attending industry conferences is a great way to expand your network and connect with others who are doing what you’re doing. While networking can be easy for some, it can also be extremely terrifying for others. I recently got back from Hispanicize in Miami and quickly realized that although networking isn’t something I struggle with there are some who have no clue where or how to begin making connections.

I was a first time attendee to Hispanicize this year and though I was aware of this annual conference that is now in its ninth year, I quickly realized that not everyone was as outgoing or as outspoken as I was. The conference, which attracted more than 2,000 of the nation’s most influential Latino professionals from the industries of journalism, music, marketing, film and business, is the largest annual event for Latino trendsetters and newsmakers in digital content creation, entertainment, and tech entrepreneurship. The Hispanicize event is a launchpad for creative endeavors, new products, technologies, marketing campaigns, films, books and more and is the perfect place to connect with major brands and influencers. For this reason, it is so important to network and make those connections (which I did).

Now if you’re someone who struggles with networking and talking to strangers it’s important to remember that networking is much more than simply showing up and passing out business cards. It’s about meeting people, engaging with them, sharing who you are and what you do, and learning more about what they do as well. It’s also about gaining valuable contacts and information that you can use on your career journey. Below, are some tips to help you step out of shell and get the most out of your next conference experience.

Have a goal.

Make sure to set clear goals and objectives of what you want to get out of the conference. Conferences are usually fast paced, with panels often times happening simultaneously. Therefore, knowing which sessions you want to attend, who you hope to meet, and what you want to take away, prior to the event will make your event experience go more smoothly.

Be prepared.

They say, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”I cannot stress enough how important it is to be prepared. Whether it is an employment opportunity or a chance encounter with your favorite celebrity, being prepared for the moment will make the difference between either getting the job and/or the selfie or flopping and letting the moment pass you by.

So when attending conferences if there are certain speakers, panelists, attendees you want to connect with make sure you have a list of talking points, questions, and thoughts you want to share with them. Do your homework and prepare well ahead of time. Read their latest book or blog, watch their most recent interview, etc. and search any recent news about them or their company. Connect with them on social media and engage in conversations up to, and while at the conference. Doing these few things before hand will help keep you focused and on track.

Be open.

Let go of any expectations. When you show up expectation free you give yourself permission to be open to whatever happens. Most people who attend conferences do so for the same reason as you, to connect with new people. While you are there to let people know who you are and what you do, also be open to learning about others. Show genuine interest and don’t go with the idea in mind that you’re there just to pitch yourself, or your agenda. Listen to others and you’ll be surprised at the amazing relationships and opportunities that open up.

Follow up.

One of the mistakes many make after attending a conference is that they fail to follow up with the people they met. Don’t let a connection fall by the way side because you fail to follow up. Make sure to use those business cards you collected to send a follow up email expressing how nice it was to meet them. Share something personal from the conversation you had at the conference so that they know you were engaged and truly interested in getting to know them. Relationship building is probably one of the greatest skills you can master because businesses are built on relationships. The better you are at nurturing the relationships you make the better it will be for your future and career. You never know when someone you’ve met will be in a position that can elevate your career to the next level.




I write stories centered on healing, self-development & growth. “To thine own self be true.”