Oh spring time, the smell of flowers, rain, and the school van going down the interstate at 6am to a conference. My favorite benefit (one of many) of joining an organization is the opportunities to go to conventions, conference, and expos. In my college-career, I have been to several; industry expos with 1,000 vendors, convention with interview sessions and meet-and-greets with professional, and leadership conferences. All, with the proper knowledge can be SO beneficial to you professionally and your career after college.
Here’s some tips to rock-the-socks off your convention….
Network, Network, Network….JUST NETWORK!
The worst thing you could do at convention is to not network. You are currently at a place filled with people that are in your industry or interested in the same thing you are, so why not make some friends. Just introduce yourself. At industry-related expos, I visit companies I recognize, introduce myself as a student at K-State and in the Feed Science Program, and tell them I was interested in more information about their product since I have heard about it in class. BAM! Just made a connection. They will go ahead tell about their product and probably give you their business card. After that you have networked. Remember it’s who you know not what you know.
What to do with a business card
The biggest advice I have ever gotten with business cards is when you receive it (before you put it in your back pocket) look at it, read the person’s name and title and make a name-to-face connection…then put it in your back pocket. Doing this shows that you were actually interested in the conservation and respect the person you are talking to. It will also help remember who-was-who later that evening.
Get a business card app. These apps are beautiful and genius, all you do is take a picture of the card and it scans all the information in a nice detailed-format. You can also add notes about your conversations and more information if need be.
Most importantly, have some fun!
I always get an adrenaline feeling at conventions, maybe it’s that I am not sitting in classroom or that I’m getting business done by networking and workshops but it’s always a good time. Learn a lot, write things down, make some friends.