Of course you’ve heard that one of the benefits of attending a conference like HDI 2017 Conference & Expo or an HDI local chapter meeting is networking. That means more than exchanging business cards or adding people to your LinkedIn network, however. Being together with a large group of individuals who are in the same industry can be a very educational experience as well.
Related Reading: A Post-FUSION-16 Look at Selecting and Attending a Conference
Your email inbox is probably full of invitations to attend webinars and links to various industry news. How do you know what to pay attention to? How do you separate the industry hype from the real deal?
One way is certainly to have conversations with people who have similar jobs to yours, but in other organizations. What are they working on? What new ways of getting things done have they discovered or learned? Are they paying attention to the buzz around DevOps, IT4IT, Standard+Case, ITIL® Practitioner, or other frameworks and methodologies? What problems have they solved that you are struggling with right now? In what areas are you ahead of the pack and have knowledge that you can share? Does your company offer services that others might be looking for? Starting a simple conversation at an event might lead to opportunity for your company as well as yourself.
Bring Your Questions
You know you have a list of things you need to know more about. Write them down or make a note on your smartphone or tablet and bring them with you to the conference or meeting. Don’t be shy about approaching fellow attendees or those who are presenting. Remember: The reason the speaker is there is to share what she or he knows.
People love to talk about what they do with other people who understand the job, the terminology, and the challenges they face. Open up and ask the questions.
Bring Your Knowledge
There are things you know that others don’t. You might have more experience or have traveled a different path to the work you currently have. You’ve listened and read and learned. Sharing knowledge with others does not lessen your own knowledge.
If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it. —Margaret Fuller
If you begin a free exchange of ideas, everyone who is part of the conversation can benefit.
There are things you know that others don’t.
Gather those business cards and LinkedIn contacts, but don’t stop there. Some people make a note on a new business card about where they met the person and maybe one thing they share in common. Get the person’s Twitter handle, if they have one, and see what they are talking about. Social media opens up a host of possibilities for communication. Your new contacts can alert you to things they see online that might assist you or just continue your questions and answers, either publicly or by direct (private) message.
Don’t downplay the benefits of social media connections. Give a quick read to this classic blog by Chris Brogan about how to make the most of social contacts and Earn Your Way In.
I Hope to see you at HDI 2017 Conference & Expo or somewhere else along the way. Meanwhile, you can follow me on Twitter @HDI_Analyst.
Roy Atkinson is HDI's senior writer/analyst, acting as in-house subject matter expert and chief writer for SupportWorld articles and white papers. In addition to being a member of the HDI International Certification Standards Committee and the HDI Desktop Support Advisory Board, Roy is a popular speaker at HDI conferences and is well known to HDI local chapter audiences. His background is in both service desk and desktop support as well as small-business consulting. Roy is highly rated on social media, especially on the topics of IT service management and customer service. He is a cohost of the very popular #custserv (customer service) chat on Twitter, which celebrated its fifth anniversary on December 9, 2014. He holds a master’s certificate in advanced management strategy from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, and he is a certified HDI Support Center Manager. Follow him on Twitter @HDI_Analyst and @RoyAtkinson.