Thursday, April 09, 2009

"Networking is building relationships through helping people"

Mike Evers of Inside Counsel writes:

Susan Sneider offers several definitions of networking from successful attorneys in her fabulous book, “A Lawyer’s Guide to Networking.” But my favorite definition among those offered by Sneider comes from John Mitchell: “Networking is building relationships through helping people. You can’t help someone if you don’t know what that person needs. You must ask others about themselves to learn what they need.”

Of achieving benefit from conferences -->

Preparation is essential to maximizing conference value. Research the speakers beforehand. A faculty list is always available at a conference’s web site. If you know a speaker personally, call her now and tell her how much you look forward to seeing her at the conference. Once you are together at the conference, she may be able to introduce you to other panelists. Similarly, if you know someone who knows one of the panelists, act on that. Is your contact willing to facilitate a pre-conference online introduction that you can follow-up in person? Short of that, ask your contact if you may drop her name to strengthen an otherwise “cold” introduction at the conference.

When deciding which breakout session to attend while three are running simultaneously, resist the natural inclination to follow the topic of most interest to you. Choose your session based on who is speaking. It’s nice when your topic preference coincides with speaker choice, but if your primary goal is to meet someone, start by hearing what he or she has to say—whether it’s of genuine interest to you or not. And listen first! Don’t make the rude mistake of walking up to a panelist just before a session. Even veteran speakers are in pregame mode and might be a little nervous. Leave them alone.

**Evers is talking about maximizing conference value to the individual. As to the individual's employer -->

from IPFrontline, on external meetings:

You'll leave the conference with tangible deliverables and takeaways. Many times businesspeople attend conferences and are very excited about what they've learned, but when they get back to the office, they aren't quite sure how to incorporate everything they learned into their daily operations. And it's even more difficult for them to make those who didn't attend the conference understand what they learned and why it's important to implement changes in their organization. The biggest and most important difference between the next generation of conferences and conferences of old is that now providing tangible deliverables and takeaways for attendees is a priority.

"Attendees actually create the first deliverables for change at their organizations while still at the conference," says Giannetto. "They analyze their own organizations against a common conference framework, and use each session to bring them one step closer to taking their performance to a new level. When they return to their offices, they can jump right in and take the next step. They won't have to start from ground zero. Managers and owners can now know that the money they spent on attending a conference was money well spent."
Attendees learn from the best (and also each other). Any conference worth its salt is packed with some of the most well-known and accomplished people specializing in the conference's topic. And all of those same industry practitioners, management theorists, experienced implementers, and thought leaders will be a part of the next generation of conferences. The difference is in how attendees get to interact with them. In addition to making keynote speeches and leading sessions, these industry experts will take part in what Mignanelli calls a "Create Conversation"—a political-style debate that makes facilitated panel discussions look like a thing of the past. During these conversations attendees get to hear from one another while picking the brains of some of the best in the business in a casual and conversational environment.
The conference trains your employees for you.

**Of networking discussed in different contexts -->


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