Why you need to network at conferences

Networking at the Annual Bloggers BashI’m going to take a minute to move away from the awards and the nominations and talk blog business.

Who out there would like to blog or write full-time?

Cause here’s the thing, with the exception of paid advertising, most marketing and business activities you do aren’t directly measureable. That’s a problem if you’re a blogger, author or writer trying to build a business and ‘go full-time.’

How can you tell if what you’re doing is effective? I guess that’s hard or maybe impossible.

Does that mean you shouldn’t do those activities? That you should side line networking for the sake of measureable impacts?

No, no it does not.


Because networking has been THE single most effective tactic I’ve used in my career to date. I make a point to attend as many conferences as I can. I regularly attend the Annual Bloggers Bash, the London Book Fair, 20 Books to 50k and more.

Here’s why:

Reason 1: I’ve genuinely met some of the loveliest people, some of whom have become my best friends. That alone is a life changing experience.

Reason 2: I’ve met some of the top industry professionals and as a result, I’ve been on podcasts, on huge blogs and built relationships with key industry influencers. Now those things aredirectly measureable because sales have come from podcasts and guest blogging. But that’s not all. I’ve also picked up freelance work from those relationships and that’s enabling me to reduce my hours in the day job. If that’s not the best reason ever to network, I don’t know what is.

Reason 3: By networking, I’ve built a huge support network of authors, bloggers and industry colleagues who are always there if I have a question, need a hint or just a rant. The amount of support this community gives always amazes me. But I wouldn’t have any of it if I hadn’t networked.

Networking Top Tips

Tip 1: Ensure you scour the list of talks and presentations before you go. Know what’s on, find out what room or area it’s in and at what time.

Tip 2: Prepare yourself a timetable with times, dates and locations so you know where to be and when.

Tip 3: Plan in lunch breaks I forgot to do that one year and was so busy I didn’t notice myself getting hungry until I almost passed out! Oh, and plan in walking time if it’s a large venue.

Tip 4: Plan in downtime, if you’re an introvert these conferences can be exhausting and you need to take five minutes to yourself.

Tip 5: Check out the attendee list. Contact people in advance and ask for coffees or drinks – I know, don’t freak out, but you can actually do that and you’d be surprised how many people say yes.

Tip 6: If you freeze up over small talk, do some research in advance, have a look at attendees websites or work so you can think of questions in advance. Also search online for small talk questions.

That’s it. What top networking tips do you have?

Don’t forget tonight at 7:30pm (GMT) is the twice monthly Bloggers Bash Chat. Hope over to twitter and use the #BlogBashChat hashtag to join in.

16 thoughts on “Why you need to network at conferences

  1. johnrieber says:

    Great tips – and these go to all aspects of life. I work in a business that values networking almost above all else – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know in entertainment, so the key is to be out there, be open and friendly and interested in what others are doing, and most important, have fun – if you have fun blogging, you should have fun talking about it!


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