Friday, April 11, 2008

Conducting business development at that conference you have to attend....

I read the HardingCo blog, which provides some great insights on business development and "rainmaking"; especially as they relate to the consulting profession.

I commented recently on a post: 'Getting a Good Seat at a Conference'; the premise being that you need to be choosy and careful when sitting down for lunch, so that you identify the best attendees to spend time with. So, I thought it might be interesting (amusing, perhaps?) to repost my comments here; some of these ideas are fairly basic....but hey; you need to have good 'blocking and tackling'...

- Review the attendee list as soon as you get it, and identify your top targets; pick a realistic number that you can meet during the conference, and develop a strategy to meet all of them

- Research those targets, particularly as it relates to timely (and positive!) events: alliance signing, big client wins, involvement in associations, etc…execs will probably be involved in some if not all of those issues.

- Seek out the conference organizer or director early in the conference and schmooze him or her….get them to point out (or introduce you to) the key speakers and panelists for you before the conference begins, so you can make a beeline for them during the lunch, or hopefully in the halls during networking periods.

- Notice people who seem to be working on presentations in the halls, at tables, or even in the conference sessions themselves. Pay particular attention just before the keynote session, or when the plenary panel convenes; these speakers (and their peers) are often executives and are hard pressed to fit the conference (and prep for their presentations) into their schedules (I have met a number of keynote speakers this way; just before they were going on stage).

And finally….not a lot of people enjoy the rubber chicken dinners at most conferences, so if you are discouraged, head to the hotel’s restaurant or a well known restaurant nearby and take your chances….there will probably be a like-minded conference attendee and potential contact that will welcome a lunch mate….


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