Networking is about making connections as well as building and maintaining relationships. Taking the time and making the effort to follow these Nine Tips can be career and life changing. Every year, people at the United Soccer Coaches Convention find full-time, part-time, and temporary employment opportunities, create recruiting contacts, make business deals, and develop contacts that impact their personal, professional, and organizational growth.
1) Be Approachable:
90% of communication is non-verbal. Therefore, when looking to network, be outgoing and be the first to introduce yourself. Look others in the eye while speaking to them and be an active listener.
2) Bring Business Cards:
To network, it is strongly recommended to bring several business cards to pass along when meeting people at convention. This helps keep track of who you met at convention, as well as makes it easier to reconnect and add as a connection on social media platforms post-convention
3) Do your Homework:
Once you have access to the list of presenters or know of attendees and exhibitors you would like to meet with, do some research on them. Also, plan ice-breakers and be fully prepared to hold conversations that will help strengthen your relationships.
4) Plan Your Time on the Exhibit Hall:
The floor of a trade show is a busy and bustling place and the United Soccer Coaches Convention Exhibit Hall is no different. With nearly 400 companies and several social happy hours that attract the entire convention center, this is the place to meet people of varying backgrounds from all over the world. Numerous exhibitors hire on-site and the best way to build a relationship is in person.
5) Follow Up:
Post-Convention, send a message to those whom you connected with, reminding them of who you are, when you met, thank them for their time, and that you are looking forward to seeing them again in the future.
6) Set an Objective:
After researching and knowing who you want to reach out to, set your goals of what you want to accomplish while networking at Convention. Whether that’s a casual conversation with a certain amount of people or connecting with someone in particular, accomplishing your goal is a great feeling and your network will grow because of it.
7) Show up Early to Sessions:
It is much more advantageous for you to show up to sessions early because the room is calmer, there are less people settled in, and there are more opportunities to talk with those around you who are by themselves.
8) Start Conversations:
It can be very easy to stand around the edges of a room or sit alone, but it is impossible to network by doing this. Rather, approach someone and start with simple questions such as, “May I join you?”, “What brings you here?”, “Where are you from?”, and “Who do you coach for?”. You never know who you will meet and you will be much more effective using this method.
9) Participate in Events
Not only can you meet other attendees at sessions but the United Soccer Coaches offers numerous session add-ons where you can take part in more formal and intimate networking. These include breakfasts and luncheons, each with a guest speaker and other attendees who are similar to you.