Most of us are really comfortable with computers and technology. Interaction with humans seem to be a bit more complex.
It’s easier to connect with people via the Internet rather than in flesh.
Most of us dread meeting people at conferences and industry events. We do not know how to start a conversation and what to talk about. The whole experience feels like struggle.
I love live events. You can meet your heroes.Learn about what’s going on in the industry. Exchange war stories. Meet interesting people.Find great job opportunities. Have a really good time.
Over the years I’ve learned a lot about making the best of each live event. Here are the most important things to remember:
1. Relax and let the conversation flow.
Eagerness is priceless,but when you first try to meet people, keep it cool. Do not hand them your card right after you greet them. Keep it simple.
If you don’t like the typical small talk use something that was interesting in one of the lectures as a conversation starter. GIS is a very diverse field, but one subject is close to pretty much everyone in the industry – maps.Use it if it feels right.
Don’t force the conversation, If it is a good one it will flow.
2. Don’t try to connect with everyone.
Quality trumps quantity. Each person is unique. You are naturally drawn to some people,but not to others in any given time.
Don’t try to be everything to everyone. If you can have a nice chat with someone that’s a good start.
3. Do not be afraid to participate in an informal parts of conferences.
Those are the really the key to developing good relationships. Or at least they are a very good starting point.
You can learn a lot by attending lectures, but don’t forget to watch for opportunities to just go out and have a launch or explore a city.
One of the best way to get to know people is to eat with them. Maybe it’s because we are more focused on food rather than on our social insecurities. It works.
4. Develop an interest in people, learn to listen.
It is amazing how many people don’t know how to listen. They talk about themselves all the time. There is no room for a dialog. And dialog is the fundament of a good rapport with others.
I like to listen to people. It’s just like reading a book. Granted. Not all stories are as good as one in the books,but they are often fascinating (and useful).
5. Be patient, building relationships takes time.
“But, what about me?” you might say. “I’m looking for a job, informations etc.”
If you take some time to get to know people you will see who’s the best to ask about whatever you need to know.
People are often very generous with their advice and knowledge while they have a chance get you to know you a little. Be patient, watch and listen carefully.