Investment Conference Networking Tips
Ensuring that You Have a Great Experience at Your Next Event
In the last year, I attended almost a dozen events, workshops and networking dinners with my colleagues in the investment and family office community. Based on that experience, I am sharing 5 tips on how to get the most out of networking opportunities at investment conferences and event. If you'd like a chance to practice these tips while gaining insights on an important hedge fund investor group, you should consider attending our upcoming family office workshops.
- Don’t Be Shy: it’s a good start to attend a investment conference but you do not gain anything if you do not talk to other attendees, speakers and sponsors. The event is only valuable if you make it valuable, so network and socialize with those around you.
- Don’t Scare People Off: Another mistake is to be too forward when approaching managers or service providers, especially those looking to land a job in the industry or pitch a product. Instead of sharing insights and thoughts on the industry, many professionals will focus entirely on their own needs (a job, a sale, advice, etc.). This is the wrong mentality. Assuming you have been following the hedge fund/wealth management industry and paid good attention to the speaker, you will have a good starting point for initiating a conversation. Ask questions when appropriate and listen when the other person is speaking. Try to follow the general flow of your conversations, rather than trying to steer them all in the direction that gives you the most benefit--you'll often find that you will like the ultimate direction of the conversation and you won't have to be pushy.
- Get Your Name Out There: If you have an objective for the conference (meeting a potential client, making a valuable connection, etc.) don't worry if you don't meet that one person you were hoping to connect with, just get your name out there and leave a positive impression on everyone. It may just be an inconvenient moment or the person you are talking with is not the right person at the firm; for example, if you are marketing your auditing service to a principle in charge of evaluating deals, he may not be interested. Give him your business card regardless, in a quarter the firm may be looking for a new auditor and still have your card. Even if you do not directly land a client through this method, it boosts your firm's and your own name's recognition.
- Prepare an Elevator Pitch: It may not sound great, but you are a product that needs to be sold. Therefore you need to have a great elevator pitch that comes out effortlessly. Whether you are looking to network, marketing to investors or job seeking, a solid elevator pitch is necessary. Be concise and include only essential information.
- Look and Act like a Professional: Even though you are not technically at work when you’re attending an event or conference, act like you are. You are meeting potential clients and partners, so you essentially are working. Wear a suit and if it’s hot, as many crowded events are, at least make the initial effort and take off your coat once you sit down. Your mother was right, first impressions are very important. So, look your best (haircut, shave and a suit) or no one will take you seriously. It’s better to be overdressed than under-dressed. Remember your manners, especially if it is catered event and use language that you would be comfortable using in the office.