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How To Get The Most Out Of Networking Events

For the vast majority of business owners, attending professional networking events is an integral aspect of business management. The benefits of business networking are well established and include increased opportunities to acquire new clients, enter new markets, make valuable business connections, and generate sales leads and referrals. But despite the clear advantages, many business owners have a love-hate relationship with networking. And believe it or not, it is not only introverts who have a hard time mingling and socialising at this type of event.

If this sounds familiar, you will find it useful to read the following five pieces of advice on how to get the most out of networking events.

1. Don’t Anticipate What May Happen

It is human nature to show uneasiness about uncertainty, and in all honesty, networking events are surrounded by a great deal of unpredictability. Trying to anticipate or predict what will happen is a common coping mechanism, but it is not always the best strategy. Worrying excessively about hypothetical situations only causes increased anxiety levels and can stop you from acting naturally and spontaneously when you need it the most. Instead of becoming stressed by assuming that you will make a faux pas, remember that other attendees will also feel nervous or uncomfortable at the event. Just be yourself and admit that you are not the best at networking – this can help you find common ground with other participants!.

2. Be Selective

Business networking is about quality, not quantity. Do some research in advance and if possible try to find out who else will be attending. Once you have a few names, think about who you’d really like to meet and why. The key is to avoid trawling the room, trying to approach everyone, or handing business cards indiscriminately, but rather to focus on making a meaningful connection with a few select people. This should ease your anxiety and help you make networking beneficial for your business.

3. The Art Of Conversation

Much to the dismay of introverts, successful networking involves making conversation with strangers. It is normal to worry about not having anything to talk about, but finding a subject of conversation is not as difficult as you may imagine. Most psychologists agree that the trick is to get other people to talk about themselves, so there is no need to come up with a long list of potential conversation topics. As you encourage other attendees to tell you more about themselves and their work and show appreciation for it, revealing more information about yourself will become second nature. If you’re still struggling to strike a conversation, have a look at this list of effective conversation starters.

4. Watch Out For Body Language

When it comes to human relationships, unspoken signals are just as important as the things we say. Always make sure you have a positive body language that encourages trust: don’t cross your arms or hold them behind your back, avoid holding plates, glasses or other objects as “barriers” between you and others, don’t stand with your back to the group, and make sure your feet point towards the people you are talking to.

5. Follow Up

Often, the success of a networking event cannot be determined until it is over. The event itself is only the starting point of a potential business relationship, which means you must work on cultivating any connections you made with a follow-up email, phone call, or LinkedIn invite. Ideally, you want to get in touch within a week of the event, and your follow-up message should always be personalised and specific.

A last piece of advice: few people are natural-born networkers, so remember that it takes time to feel comfortable at these events and to learn how to make the most out of them. By using the tips listed above, you will be on your way to reaping the full benefits of networking events and turning them into fruitful business opportunities.







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Top 10 UK Tech Conferences For 2015

In recent years, digital conferences have become a top way to network fellow technology heavyweights and listen to ‘A’ list digital entrepreneurs. Sharing ideas with the likes of You Tube cofounder Chad Hurley, or Skype’s Niklas Zennstrom while listening to the world’s top technology venture capitalists describe their successes, is a real possiblility with today’s top ten tech conferences.

Top 10 Technology Conferences Held in the UK

1. Digibury in Canterbury
14 January 2015 and monthly.
Set on the University of Kent campus and the Gulbenkian Theatre, Digibury aims to connect digital and creative entrepreneurs together in a series of one day conferences held every month. For those new to the conference circuit, regular attendance at Digibury is a great platform to start networking the digital community and establishing contacts.
2. Tech UK – The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth.
12 February 2015
The way TV broadcasting will evolve with the 4K technology is a hot topic covered by Tech UK, who host regular conferences dealing with specialisted digital technology. This conference located in central London includes keynote speakers, Nigel Catlow, Business group director/Consumer electronics, UK & Ireland, GfK, Richard Lindsay-Davies, CEO, Digital TV Group and Stephan Heimbecher, Head of Innovations & Standards, Sky Deutschland.
3. Technology for Marketing and Advertising TFM&A Conference
25-26 February, 2015
Held at the London Olympic Exhibition Centre, this event is the gathering place for digital marketing experts and advertisers who know how to make use of technology powered marketing. Offering delegates workshops, round-table discussings, and showcasing cutting edge marketing applications with hundreds of exhibitions stands, this is a must for anyone involved in digital marketing. Key note speakers for 2015 include Kieran Flanagan from Hubspot.
4. QCon London – software development conference
4-6 March, 2015
QCon is the annual gathering of those working in software development, as a part of technical teams including architects, engineering directors, and project managers. Introducing the latest software innovations in the industry, QCon features over one hundred speakers. This year, Roy Rapoport from Netflix, John Wilkes from Google, and John Graham Cummin (open source POPFile email programme developer) lead the pack of speakers.
5. The Wearable Technology Show 2015
10-11 March, 2015
Held at the Excel Centre in London and hosted by Augmented Realtiy, the Wearable Technology Show is the biggest event for leading experts in the field to showcase their wares. Full of tech stands and offering delegates the chance to hear talks and views from the top entrepreneurs in this fast growing field, this is a must for hands on digital designers and developers. All the big names are there on a rota of talks, including representatives from Google, LG, Accenture, McLaren, Visa, Samsung and more.
6. The Digital Shoreditch Festival
11-12 May 2015
Organised by the local community, this tech conference, held in the heart of the UK’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’ in Shoreditch, attracts the very best tech, creative and entrepreneurial people from London and Europe. There’s plenty to engage you, and with over 12,500 technology businesses in the immediate vicinity, there’s plenty of networking to do. The theme for 2015 is ‘trends with digital philanthropy’ and the way digital media has become a tool for social impact projects.
7. Thinking Digital
19-21 May, 2015
This spectacular conference at The Sage, Gateshead, attracts fantastic speakers such as Google’s machine intelligence expert Blaise Aguera y Arcas. Last year, Arcas gave an insightful insight into the world of machines, and the potential of artificial intelligence. Developers and those in digital applications will enjoy this conference.
8. The Eco Technology Show 2015
Billed as the event which embraces innovation concerning technology for low carbon solutions, the Eco Technology Show holds its annual conference in Brighton’s American Express stadium. Showcasing the best in the building industry, the conference invites panel discussions and the opportunity to network with town and city planning decision makers across the UK. Digital technology partners interested in commissioning large projects in the eco-techmarket will enjoy this conference. Hosting talks from keynote speakers such as Stephen Golding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Paul Southall from the National Trust, this is a must for anyone doing business in digital innovation for environment planning.
9. Tech Entrepreneurs Week
July 2015 (TBA)
Leading tech entrepreneurs enjoy this conference specifically for start-ups. Located in Euston Square, London, the conference covers investor networking, opportunities, funding, entrepreneur seminars and hosts many cutting edge tech speakers. Last year attracted speakers from Microsoft (James Whittaker), Nigle Townsend from Kiroco, Professor Adrian Cheok from Reality Lab, and Leo Castellanos from Saatchi Investors.
10. JAX London 2015
October 2015 (TBA)
JAX aims to bring together Java, JVM and Enterprise professionals together to discuss technology and methodology. The annual conference is gaining a reputation for being the place where the latest developer and architect solutions are discussed alongside specialist JAVA technology innovations and issues.

Bizwiki provides a comprehensive list of Conference Venues across the UK.

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Top Marketing Conferences in the USA for 2015

Good marketing can be the difference between the success and failure of a company. The need for good marketing information can be satisfied at one of the many marketing conferences taking place across the United States in 2015.

Summit Digital Marketing Conference
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Dates: March 9 through 13, 2015

Digital marketing has become more prominent in recent years and the Summit has become the place where digital marketing experts make themselves available to business owners. For many years now, the Summit has been regarded as the one mandatory digital marketing conference that every business owner and marketing expert should attend.

Past Keynote Speakers Have Included:

  • Robert Redford – Actor
  • Yancey Strickler – Kickstarter
  • Brad Brown – REI

Social Media Marketing World
Location: San Diego, CA
Dates: March 25 through 27, 2015

Social media has evolved over the years and plays a significant role in corporate marketing. At the Social Media Marketing World conference, marketing experts discuss new methods for using social media in expanding a company’s influence and customer base.

Past Keynote Speakers Have Included:

  • Chris Brogan – Human Business Works
  • Michael Hyatt – Author
  • Jay Baer – Author

Content Marketing World
Location: Cleveland, OH
Dates: September 8 through 11, 2015

Internet content marketing is constantly changing and the annual Content Marketing World conference helps website owners and developers to keep up to date on the latest developments. Whether it is a debate about the value of good content or a discussion about Google’s latest changes, you will find it at this conference. Read more »

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