Networking at Digital X: The importance of combining digital and human communication
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Digital X is Europe’s foremost cross-industry digitization initiative, spearheading the charge toward digital transformation. With over 300 domestic and international partners actively engaged in this endeavor, Digital X serves as a dynamic force bolstering the digital evolution of small and medium-sized enterprises. Over 250 esteemed speakers from politics, business, and science will take the stage, offering deep insights and personal perspectives on digitalization.
We have some exciting news! The ReadyForSocial team is set to make waves at this year’s Digital X! Most of you know that the Digital X isn’t just another tech conference – it’s the European epicenter of digital transformation, attracting star guest speakers such as American futurist Amy Webb and actor, filmmaker, producer, director & human rights activist George Clooney. Imagine a realm where innovation knows no bounds, where the convergence of minds and ideas fuels the future of business. And guess what? We’re diving headfirst into this dynamic landscape, ready to seize every opportunity, forge valuable connections, and equip you with the ultimate networking toolkit!
Here’s the cherry on top: Our upcoming blog series will prepare you from the prep work before the event to the aftercare after the event. The first article of our series is your backstage pass to becoming a networking maestro at all events like Digital X.
We’re thrilled to roll out a treasure trove of tips, tricks, and strategies to transform your networking game from good to legendary. Whether you’re a seasoned networker or taking your first steps into this exhilarating world, we’re here to guide you through every interaction, conversation, and connection you’ll make.
Bringing heart to strategy: The magic of networking with intent
So, let’s talk networking – that exciting journey of meeting new faces and forging connections that can spark something magical. Sure, planning is like the North Star, but you know what really lights up the path? Intent.
Imagine you’re at an event like Digital X, ready to dive into conversations. Knowing who you want to meet is the key – those who align with your aspirations, from specific companies, unique positions, or conversations that resonate. Think about where you could find your possible connections. Is it at panel discussions or booths? Planning your networking around these intersections can be a game-changer in chasing the relationships you truly desire.
But here’s the twist – being open is crucial, too. Life surprises us when we least expect it. Embrace the delightful curveballs and spontaneous encounters that lead to unexpected insights and collaborations. In this dance between intention and openness, you’re crafting more than connections – you’re weaving a tapestry of possibilities. The art lies in marrying your deliberate strategy with the joy of embracing the unexpected.
Unleashing the magic of research: Elevate your networking game.
Let’s talk about something that can genuinely transform your networking journey – the art of research. And guess what? We live in an age where modern social media hands you a “cheat sheet” to supercharge your strategy. Yes, we’re talking about LinkedIn!
Picture this: You’ve got your networking plan in hand, and now it’s time to dive into the world of research. But hold on, this isn’t your average research – it’s like getting a sneak peek into a treasure trove of insights. And LinkedIn is your key to unlocking it.
Imagine being armed with knowledge about the individuals you’re about to meet. In a whirlwind of interactions at Digital X or any other event, getting to know your fellow networkers can be a game-changer. By delving into their LinkedIn profiles, you’re peering into their professional journey, achievements, and the things that light up their career path. Give it a try: enter the name of a person you’re interested in into the LinkedIn search. Read through their profile A to Z, and the latest posts they’ve shared or content they’ve liked or commented on. For sure, you’ll be surprised at what you can learn!
But here’s the real magic: You’re not just engaging in surface-level chats but becoming a conversation pro offering a personalized and insightful approach. You might uncover shared connections that spark camaraderie or dive deep into shared challenges that ignite meaningful discussions. Imagine bringing innovative solutions to the table that resonate with their business needs – all because you’ve got the scoop from LinkedIn.
Now, what does this mean? It means you stand out in the sea of interactions. Your conversations aren’t just fleeting encounters but memorable exchanges that leave an imprint. You’re not just networking. You’re establishing genuine connections far beyond the event’s confines.
Crafting your image: The art of making connections.
Let’s talk about making an impression – a captivating one that leaves people curious and intrigued. This is your chance to step into the spotlight and show the world who you are – digitally via your LinkedIn profile or in person at the event.
First, ask yourself how you want others to see you. It might seem like a loaded question, but it’s a compass that can guide your interactions, especially with important folks like stakeholders and influential figures. Your introduction should be a gateway to unveiling not just your personal attributes but also the ethos and accomplishments of your organization.
Imagine this introduction as your platform to showcase your commitment to innovation and growth. With every carefully chosen facet, you’re painting a vivid picture that sparks curiosity and beckons deeper exploration. These interactions might be brief, but they’re like sparks that ignite interest in the advancements that define your company.
And what’s the ultimate goal? It’s about leaving these key individuals with more than just a handshake – it’s about planting a crystal-clear understanding of your unique value proposition.
Mastering the art of exchanging business cards: Your networking power move.
It’s time to dive into a skill that’s as classic as it is effective: the art of handing out business cards. This little piece of paper might seem small, but it holds the potential to open doors you never imagined. Below are some hands-on tricks on how to do it right:
- The graceful exchange:
When handing out your business card, think of it as passing along a piece of your professional soul. Hold it out with a genuine smile, making eye contact that says, “Hey, I’m excited to connect with you.” The magic happens in the moment when the card changes hands – make it memorable.
- Timing is everything:
Seize the perfect moment to share your card. Maybe it’s after a stimulating conversation or when you’ve found common ground. Don’t rush it; let the interaction unfold naturally, and when the moment feels right, present your card as a bridge to continuing the connection.
- The two-way street:
Remember, it’s not just about giving your card; it’s about receiving theirs too. When new connections offer their card, take a moment to look at it, show genuine interest, and maybe even jot a note on the back to remember the conversation. This small gesture goes a long way in showing you value the connection.
- The power of personalization:
Now, let’s talk about what makes a business card stand out. A good card isn’t just a piece of paper; it reflects you and your brand. Choose a design that resonates with your style but keeps it professional. Add your LinkedIn profile or a QR code that leads to your portfolio – these little touches make it easy for your new connection to learn more about you.
- Less is more:
Keep the information on your card clear and concise. Your name, title, company, contact details – that’s the golden rule. You want them to remember you, not be overwhelmed by a cluttered card. And oh, the power of a tagline or a brief description of what you do – that’s the secret sauce that sparks curiosity.
- Quality matters:
The feel of your card matters more than you think. Opt for high-quality paper and a finish that aligns with your brand’s tone. A well-made card speaks volumes about your attention to detail and commitment to excellence.
- Follow Up:
Ah, the afterglow of the event. The business cards you collected are like seeds waiting to be nurtured. Don’t let them gather dust – follow up within a few days. Drop a friendly email referencing your conversation, and express your enthusiasm to connect further.
Parting words: End conversations with grace.
At a multi-day event, you’ll likely talk to a LOT of people – even if you’re only staying for one of the days. Knowing how to end conversations politely can make a difference in what impression you leave with people and allows you to make the most efficient use of your time. After all, saying goodbye doesn’t have to be awkward – it can be your signature move.
We checked out the global employer branding blog Undercover Recruiter for inspiration to give you some handy tips and suggested wording for respectful conversation closers:
- Plan a follow-up:
If you made a valuable contact but need to continue networking with other people, use the opportunity to exchange contact details or business cards with each other. Don’t forget to plan for a future meeting or a follow-up call.
Example: “I truly enjoyed our conversation. I have to leave now, but I’d love to schedule a meeting or call soon. Can I have your contact details?”
- Shift the spotlight:
Sometimes, you’re on a networking roll and want to keep the momentum. An easy way to end a conversation is to shift the focus elsewhere. Explain to your contact that you have to meet someone else. You can also be sincere and say you must continue working the room. They will understand since they are there to network, too!
Example: “It’s been a pleasure talking to you, but I’ve got a few more folks I’d love to catch up with. Enjoy the rest of the event.”
- Master introductions:
Introducing someone new to your conversation can be your exit strategy with a twist. You may be doing the third person a favor by creating an icebreaker.
Example: “I’d love to introduce you to [NAME], who I met (earlier). I’ll leave you to get acquainted.”
Be genuine in your intentions, and only suggest a follow-up if interested. Make sure you follow up in a timely manner after the event.
Navigating your limits: A path to balance.
When discussing networking, knowing your limits is also critical. Because let’s be real –networking can get pretty overwhelming. Our secret recipe for success: Weave in moments of self-care. Here are some ideas on how these might look like:
- Find a quiet corner:
Seek out a quiet corner or a less crowded area to breathe. It could be a lounge area, a less frequented booth, or even an outdoor space if available. This solitude can provide you with a temporary escape from the bustling crowd.
- Practice deep breathing:
Deep breathing can work wonders in calming your mind and re-energizing you. Take a few moments to focus on your breath, inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth. This simple practice can help reduce stress and boost your mental clarity.
- Hydrate and nourish:
Remember to stay hydrated and keep your energy levels up. Grab a glass of water and opt for light, nutritious snacks to fuel your body. Avoid heavy, carb-loaded options that might make you feel sluggish.
- Engage in short conversations:
Instead of engaging in lengthy conversations, opt for shorter interactions. Politely excuse yourself after exchanging pleasantries and business cards. This approach can help you connect with more people without getting drained.
- Use breaks wisely:
Many networking events have scheduled breaks or intermissions. Utilize these breaks to step away from the crowd and recharge. Find a comfortable spot to sit, stretch, or take a quick stroll.
- Set time limits:
Allocate specific time slots for networking. For example, you might engage in conversations for 30 minutes, followed by a 10-minute break. Setting time limits can prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and give you regular intervals to recharge.
- Connect with familiar faces:
If you spot someone you already know or have met, take a moment to catch up. Familiar faces can provide comfort and ease during a busy event like Digital X.
- Practice active listening:
Instead of constantly talking, focus on being an active listener. This can give your mind a slight break while still being engaged in the conversation.
- Stretch and move:
Physical movement can help rejuvenate both your body and mind. If the event allows, stand up and do light stretches to alleviate tension and boost your energy.
Wrapping it up: mastering networking at Digital X and beyond!
With these tips and tricks, you’re all set to make meaningful connections, share ideas, and open doors to exciting opportunities. We are excited to practice our networking skills at the upcoming Digital X in Cologne. We can’t wait to chat, exchange insights, and be a part of your networking journey.