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How to have successful meetings at conferences and avoid fiasco
In our last article, we discussed how to get ready to attend a conference and what you should take into account to avoid wasting valuable time or wandering aimlessly between booths. In this one, we'll talk about how to make your work at a conference successful, how to be fully prepared for meetings with partners, and what to do in worst-case scenarios.

Preparations

Double-check your meetings, get confirmations or cancellations, and create a final draft of your schedule. Before you head to the event, make sure you leave yourself enough time to check that you have everything—both your personal effects and company items. Make sure ll handouts (business cards, brochures) and gifts are ready to go.

Background Info

You and your employees may have to turn into stalkers for a while. Besides just establishing personal contact via messaging apps and e-mail, you should do your best to gather information about the people you plan to meet with and their companies from their social media accounts. You may find interests and hobbies that will provide a unique way to start a conversation, be it soccer, music, or travel. It's also important to structure the questions and statements that you plan to use in conversation: write them down (on paper!) to help you remember the material.

Meetings

Once you arrive at your meeting location and have found the person you're meeting with, suggest stepping out somewhere less noisy than the middle of the exhibition hall. If the organizers have provided meeting rooms, take advantage of this. Start your conversations with small talk—you did prepare, after all. This will help you figure out how the person you are talking to is feeling and get a sense of the overall tone of your conversation. If they are in a hurry or very tired, they may suggest getting straight down to business. Always have a presentation of your product or service ready. At the end of your conversation, use a few strong statements to sum everything up and help clarify anything that may have been unclear. If you feel like the conversation went well, suggest taking a picture together. This will help you end the meeting on a positive note.

Afterparty

Matches are made in heaven, and deals are made at the afterparty. That pretty much sums up the situation with after-conference parties. Informal communication on any and all topics and the absence of time or dress code constraints will help advance your conversation even further than you think. Never write off parties as an afterthought—that's where the real networking happens.
FAQs and worst-case scenarios
The person you were supposed to meet with did not show up. What do you do?

If you are at the agreed-upon meeting place and the meeting should have already started,
but your partner is not there, use the rule of 5 rings. Call them, and if they do not pick up after five rings, then hang up and write them a message. If the message doesn't get a reply, then consider the meeting cancelled—it's not worth wasting your time on people who behave like that. Anyone with manners would give you a heads-up if they were running late, or reschedule the meeting. If the person you were planning to meet with didn't have the grace to do so, then consider carefully whether you really need partners like that.
The person you are meeting is late for your meeting.


In this situation, don't be afraid to continue with your other scheduled meetings if it becomes too late: your time is just as important as the other person's. Check with the person you're meeting and see how much more time they need. If it doesn't fit into your schedule, then explain that you can't wait any longer, and offer to reschedule your meeting. If the person is genuinely interested, they will be ready to agree on a schedule with you.
What should you do at the end of the day?


Look back through your notebook where you kept notes. Analyze what you see: what kind of mood was the person you met with in, what were the results of the meeting. Based on each individual conclusion, think about how to remind the person you met with about your meeting and yourself. For example, send them a photo that you took together after the meeting. Write down the results in your planner and wait. Our next article will talk about further actions you can take.

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