Networking and industry events can be great sources of opportunities to start and/or enhance working relationships with clients and partners. The key is what you do in the months and weeks leading up to the event.
How to prepare
If possible, start months ahead of the event to decide who you would like to meet with and approximately when. Information to organize:
Role at the event (attendee, speaker, booth, etc)
Event schedule (e.g. when people arrive/leave, breaks)
Goal(s) for each meeting
What do you need to learn BEFORE the event
This information will reveal some potential time slots to focus on and homework to do before the event.
3 types of meetings to pursue
Remember you will not be the only person competing for time with these contacts. Try to pursue setting up the following...
Make it easy to schedule!
Some meetings, particularly during the event, may be brief...people are in a hurry. Figure out how you want to make it easy to schedule follow up meetings RIGHT THERE before the conversation ends.
You are likely to find more opportunities and be excited about your post event schedule!