12 Tips to Get the Most Out of the IFA Convention
Networking is one of the most important aspects of business. These thought-out events are made to amplify the beauty of bringing like-minded people together. Relish in the opportunity to meet potential colleagues, candidates and business partners. This is the prime opportunity to identify who you’d like to work in tandem with towards personal success.
I attend the IFA Convention each and every year and find it to be extremely beneficial for both me personally and for my company as well. I have decided to share with you 12 tips to help you get the most out of the IFA Convention:
- Attend the convention to make friends, not to "network." The networking will naturally happen.
- Walk with your head up high and smile. Make eye contact, even when walking to and from the event.
- Is there a long walk to the conference center? If you see others in the elevator, ask for directions. Inquire as to whether they’re also on their way to the event. Now you’ll have a friend for later. (Keep an eye out for nametags or badges. Those will help you will spot other attendees.)
- Remember that 99% of the people attending the event are in the same boat and want to network with others.
- When you are talking with others think of how you can help them. Don't decide you’re only there to benefit yourself. That will happen with time.
- Overdress for the event. If you don't know the attire, never opt for casual.
- When sitting in on a lunch, class or seminar, never sit at the empty table. Squeeze in between two people. If possible, grab coffee or water for yourself and ask everyone around you if they would like one too. That is an easy ice breaker.
- If you’re attending an event with an open bar, elect to order from the bar with the longest line, not the shortest. If you’re truly there to network, why choose the empty row, table or area? It limits the number of people available to meet.
- If you’re in a group of people talking at a nighttime event, be the one to offer a casual: "anyone need a drink?" People who want to network will be smart enough to take the bait. Now you’re building relationships on a more personal level.
- Sometimes it's easier to network with the speakers or presenters. After they present, immediately go up to them and offer your congratulations. Let them know they did a great job. You will find yourself in the center of a small group of experts, and now can easily connect with them.
- After the event, continue networking with technology. I connect with everyone I meet via LinkedIn using the business cards I receive. I search every email address and send a friendly message reiterating what an honor it was to meet.
- HELPFUL TIP: If you use the LinkedIn mobile app, you can connect with more people, even without knowing their email address. I have connected with the presenters at a conference solely through the powers of the digital world, and managed to build a full working relationship that continues to this day.
I hope to see you this year at the IFA Convention!
Don Daszkowski is the Founder of the International Franchise Professionals Group. IFPG is a membership-based organization that consists of franchise consultants/brokers, franchisors and other franchise professionals that help potential candidates in the process of buying a franchise.