Events, conferences, and tradeshows are back, which leads to a good reminder of how to network at these events. While walking around a networking event the other night I noticed everyone's nametag was just a name (no company). Once around the room I realized this was a great way to use LinkedIn on my iPhone. (iTunes/Google App Store: LinkedIn). It is a networking secret weapon. Here's how I used it:
- Research: As I was mingling, I'd plug in the person's name in the LinkedIn search and find out a little about them. Perfect if you are connected to them somehow, "Hi, I'm Mike from Green Leads, I think you know my friend Jonathan."
- Save a Tree: If I hit it off with someone and we were about to swap business cards, I'd say "hold on, you're on LinkedIn, right?" (and of course I already knew that). "I'll send you an invite right now." Forget about the business cards and save some trees.
- Topics: Instant backgrounders popped up. Their work history. Even links to their blogs and favorite books. Incredible for conversation topics.
- Faces (my favorite): I had a partial pre-registration list and there were five people I labeled as "must meet them." I plugged in their name, looked up their profile, and four of them had photos. I scanned the crowd and went over and said hello.
- History: When the event was over and I got home, I reviewed the search page on the iPhone and there were all the people I had plugged in. Like a history of my networking.
So if you see me coming and my iPhone is in my hand, watch out, I'm going to introduce myself.