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10 Tips to Master Event Networking

Fall event season is upon us, and we’re thrilled to welcome many of you to Dallas this October for Contact Center Demo and Conference! The agenda is packed, and the speaker lineup is more impressive than ever. Have you begun planning your agenda? One of the biggest benefits of attending industry events is networking with industry experts, but let’s face it. Networking can be a little awkward, and knowing where to begin can feel overwhelming. That’s why we've compiled a few tips to help you network more confidently at your next event.

Earlier this year, we asked members of the #ICMIchat community to share their best networking advice. We’ve included ten of the top tips below! While these tips will certainly be helpful for Contact Center Demo and Conference, this advice applies to any event.

Read through the list below, and then share your advice in the comments.

1.    Follow and engage with the conference hashtag on Twitter.

Social media provides one of the simplest opportunities to network and find fellow attendees before, during, and after a live event. Our official event hashtag is already abuzz with updates from speakers, exhibitors, ICMI staff members, and attendees. Want in on the action? Follow #CCDemo and engage with the conversation.

Not sure what to say or where to begin? Here are a few conversation starters:

  • I’m attending @CallCenterICMI #CCDemo this fall in Dallas! Join me? http://ubm.io/1Wm6Q1T
  • I’m looking forward to learning about ______ at @CallCenterICMI #CCDemo What are you most excited to learn?
  • Anyone want to grab coffee and chat about ____ at @CallCenterICMI’s #CCDemo in Dallas?

Brand new to Twitter? There’s no better time than now to create a profile! Start making connections and you’ll already know a few friendly faces to connect with in Dallas.

2.    Approach the event as an opportunity to learn.

With more than 35 expert speakers from companies like Mercedes-Benz, Walgreens, and Bright House Networks, there is so much to learn at Contact Center Demo and Conference! All of our sessions offer unbiased, practical content carefully selected by our advisory board. We offer sessions in four unique learning tracks: people management, operations management, strategy and leadership, and technology management. You can choose to attend sessions from all four tracks, or focus on just one. Either way, come prepared to take notes and ask questions!  

3.    Don’t go to bed early.

Resist the urge to sleep in or hurry back to your hotel room early to catch up on emails. Each morning and evening we offer valuable opportunities for networking (and fun). Take advantage of that time to meet with industry solutions providers, ask other contact center leaders about lessons they’ve learned, and commiserate with your peers about the joys and challenges of life in customer service.

Here are a few activities you won’t want to neglect. Mark your calendar!

  • Demo Hall Bash- Tuesday, 5:00 PM-7:00 PM
  • Industry Roundtable Breakfast-- Wednesday, 7:00 AM– 8:15 AM
  • “We Got the Beat” 80’s Networking Party-- Wednesday, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
  • Best Practices Networking Breakfasts- Thursday, 7:30 AM-8:30 AM

4.    Step out of your comfort zone. Everyone is in the same boat - so, introduce yourself!

Our event attendees are a fun and friendly group, so first-timers need not fret!  Glance at attendee badges to locate other “lone rangers” or first-timers, and pay attention to job titles and locations to spot people with similar interests. Feeling a little shy? Look for an ICMI staff member. We’re delighted to facilitate introductions and suggestions to help you maximize your experience!

Bonus tip: if you see someone you’ve never met standing within 3 feet of you, say hello!

5.    Plan your schedule ahead of time!

So many sessions, so little time! If you want to make the most of your week take a look at the full schedule ahead of time. Read the session descriptions, and then formulate your plan for the week. You can use our online schedule builder tool, or our mobile app to keep track of all the decisions. Coming with a team? Organize a lunch meeting ahead of time to devise a plan to divide and conquer. Decide which sessions are appropriate for each team member.

6.    Come with a plan! Define takeaways/goals.

Engage everyone, not just the experts. Ask questions. Speaking of planning for the week---don’t just focus on which sessions you’ll attend. Consider your overall goals.  What do you hope to learn? Who do you hope to meet? Which technology solutions would you like to demo? What are three new ideas you hope to bring back your contact center? Download the full event brochure to kick-start your brainstorm!

7.    Take advantage of Twitter chats (like #ICMIchat) to meet other attendees in advance.

Each Tuesday at 1pm ET, contact center and customer service leaders converge on Twitter for an hour of virtual networking and learning. Our weekly Twitter chat (#ICMIchat) is the perfect place to discuss current events, share ideas, and walk away with practical advice you can implement to solve problems in your contact center. These chats are free to attend, and everyone is welcome. No RSVP required. Several of our speakers, exhibitors, and attendees regularly participate in #ICMIchat, so this is another great opportunity to meet new friends before Dallas.

On October 18th we’ll host a chat designed to help you reap all the potential benefits Contact Center Demo and Conference offers. Mark your calendar and plan to attend! (And come with questions we can answer)

8.   Don’t sit with your coworkers.

We can’t emphasize this one enough. We know you like your coworkers (well, we hope so), but you spend time with them every day!  Take advantage of the chance to hear new perspectives and expand your network. Take a risk and sit at a table of strangers for lunch, or wake up early and head to a networking breakfast. Heading out for a Site Tour? Find a lone ranger to sit with on the bus.

9.   Setup meetings, engage others, take copious notes, and exchange business cards.

Careful packing is key to enjoying any event. We suggest bringing plenty of business cards, comfortable walking shoes, and your favorite tool for note taking!  There will be free Wi-Fi in the sessions, so feel free to carry your iPad or tablet. (And don’t forget your chargers!)

10.   Give yourself permission to skip a session or two in favor of a meaningful conversation with someone you meet at the conference.

We certainly encourage you to attend all the sessions you can—there are countless valuable ones to choose from!  But if you strike up a great conversation during a session or tour and have the chance to continue that conversation, feel free! Remember, you’re attending this conference to network and learn.  Some of the most valuable learning might come from exchanging ideas with other contact center leaders. Be open to asking for help, or lending help over a cup of coffee.

Looking for a few more tips and tricks? Check out this advice from former ICMI event speaker and attendee, Nate Brown. Have tips you’d like to add to the mix? Tweet them using our conference hashtag: #CCDemo.