The CEO’s Blog

I am returning from an amazing three days in Madrid, Spain where I attended the EFMD Deans and Directors conference. Over 400 senior academic leaders came together from around the world to explore “What if…” in business education.

But for me, conferences are for networking. And after too many years virtually attending events, it’s time to build those relationships.

Here are a few tips I use to make the most out of a hectic two days:

1.) Review the participant list and personally reach out to at least 5-10 people before traveling. Even a simple “excited to see you there,” can go a long way. Those attending are just as interested in meeting new people. The new conference apps are great for this, LinkedIn as well. I encourage you to say hello first.

2.) Determine who the “super networkers” are who can help connect you. (Hint: I’m definitely one). You’ll find the super networkers in the lobby bar well after the event ends, on the planning committee or organizing the event. Don’t forget about the exhibitors. Ask for help with introductions. Super networkers love making introductions. I know I do!

3.) Return to the same conferences every year. It’s the best way to build rapport and strengthen relationships. My first EFMD Deans conference was in 2012. Eleven years later, you can reminisce over dinner.

4.) Recognize that going back in-person is draining and exhausting, and you will need breaks. The introverts out there will require quiet time. But be strategic in what you miss. I determined the breakout session I could skip and spent time in my hotel room with a meditation app and my journal.

5.) Don’t skip the evening events, reschedule your Zoom calls, and be present. The best connections you will make will happen in a bus, waiting for a coat check or at a Women in BizEd dinner. It’s a very quick two days, make the most of it!

So what else would you add to this list? Hit reply and let me know!

—Lisa Leander, Founder & CEO

p.s. Are you ready to join a global community and broaden your network with amazing new connections? Join Women in BizEd today.

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