Over on TechCrunch, Mark Suster (@msuster), an entrepreneur with two successful exits and now a VC at GRP Partners, has written a thoughtful post on how startups can make the most of any conferences or events that they attend.
I would say that these are good rules for anyone to follow - not just startups. In summary, they are:
- Be very targeted in which events you attend
- Do leg work before you get to the event
- If you sit on a panel, make sure you don’t suck
- Focus more on Lobby Conf than on the panels
- Consider staying out late, sleeping in
- Schedule dinners
- Don’t get too wasted
- Don’t assume everybody remembers you
- Get a wing man
- Close the loop after the show
You’ll have to read Mark’s entire post but there are two points I might adjust, depending on your style and the style of the people you meet.
#6: Instead of scheduling dinners, consider scheduling breakfasts. As much as conferences can have a party atmosphere, you’ll find that some people are early risers who like to get in a workout and have some productive time in the morning.
If some of the folks that you’re looking to make a connection with fall into this category, get in sync with them at your conference.
Also, consider that many times people are just plain tired after a long day of schmoozing and may not have any gas left in the evening. Get ‘em while they’re fresh.
#5: If you’re attempting to make connections over breakfast, consider “early to bed, early to rise” in order to support that strategy. It’s kind of hard to have a breakfast with an early-riser at 7 when you turned-in tipsy at 5.