Feel like you can’t remember the last time you even considered a networking event? Don’t worry; we’re all a little rusty! After a few years of virtual events, most of us are ready to get back in the saddle at this years’ big accounting trade shows like AccountingWEB Live Summit, Scaling New Heights 2022 and Xerocon 2022.
If you’re eager to talk shop with other accounting professionals, learn what’s new and hot in the industry, and expand your LinkedIn network, we’ve got a few tips to help you get the most out of event season. Keep these five pro networking strategies in mind:
1. Engage on the expo floor. Rule number one of networking is to talk with a variety of people. Don’t engage with zealous intent or chat people up with the express purpose of securing contact information (or swag). Instead, just engage. Start with an introduction and see where the conversation takes you. Whether it’s speaking with fellow accountants, vendors or influencers, you can get a lot more value, perspective and information than just another professional connection. It all starts with simple engagement without expectation.
2. Listen, then engage meaningfully. Networking is two-sided: you need to talk and listen. Make sure you’re balancing that relationship equally and leaving a good impression of yourself. People appreciate feeling heard, and they’re more likely to walk away from an encounter feeling positive if you take the time to listen. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions, either. Questions show that you’re paying attention and interested in what someone has to say. Listen and engage, and people will be more willing to connect again later.
3. Brush up on what’s going on in the industry. The purpose of attending industry events is to broaden your knowledge of the field and your profession. But you don’t need to wait for the event to educate yourself on current trends and topics. Do a little research before you go, so you can network with confidence about timely topics. To that end, you’ll also find yourself better-prepared to engage speakers and panels if you have a broader context for their topics–and make a deeper connection.
4. Keep your LinkedIn fresh. Most accountants connect on LinkedIn. Before you start sending and receiving requests at a conference, take the time to tidy up your profile. Update your information and make sure everything is current. You’re more likely to impress new connections with a profile that’s robust, as opposed to a sparse one.
5. Be authentic and friendly. Above all, be genuine. Trade shows are a working event, but it’s difficult to form meaningful connections behind a corporate façade. Stay professional, but be yourself. Tell a joke. Offer a complement. Talk about something other than bookkeeping and accounting. Authentic networking yields the best connections.
Trade shows and industry events are a great way to form connections that further your career, expand your knowledge and unlock professional opportunities. It starts with networking. Attend talks. Visit booths. Chat up other attendees. The purpose of these events is to stay engaged! Simple conversation goes a long way.
If you’re attending events in 2022, keep an eye out for the Veem team! Better still, book time with Veem’s accountant specialist, to learn more about how we help accountants simplify global payments. We look forward to chatting with you!