Internext Survival Guide: Part 2

The first part of Internext feature dealt with the actual trade show portion of the convention and how to maximize your time on the show floor. This article will discuss the other portion of the three-day event, where most of the networking takes place – the parties. 

Internext is host to so many parties and get-togethers that it would be literally impossible to attend each one. There are suite parties, parties at strip clubs, parties on boats (when there is water around), theme parties, pool parties, gay parties, straight parties, fetish parties, and of course the one and only Players Ball. There are a few things that most of these get-togethers have in common: free alcohol, naked people, and great networking opportunities. 

Now, quite a few people, especially if it is their first time, get swept up in the party haze and end up waking up when the show is over in a thick fog, wondering what they did during the three days of the convention. They also realize that they can barely remember the names of the people they met and when they look at the business cards they picked up, they cannot recall what they spoke to each person about. This scenario can happen to the best of us if we do not hit the party scene with the attitude that we are there to enjoy ourselves, but also to make contacts and do some business. The key is to party in moderation (is this word in the webmaster vocabulary?). 

Due to the fact that there are so many parties, you must choose carefully which ones that you are going to attend. You want to try to make your presence at events that can somehow help your business, meaning parties where there will be people that you need to know. It will not do too much good for you if you have a new teen girl program to promote and you are hanging out at all the gay webmaster parties the whole time, even though they are some pretty wild parties. A good way to find out who will be where, prior to the show, is to check out some of the Webmaster boards. People will most likely be posting about the parties in the weeks leading up to the convention. My personal opinion is that the smaller hotel suite parties are the best for face-to-face networking. 

Once you actually get to the parties, you need to make sure that you maximize your networking opportunity. First rule of thumb: turn on the charm. You want to be yourself when you are in a schmoozing environment, but you also want to be outgoing and fun. The worst thing to do is to sit down and talk to your buddies all night or hang out by yourself on the fringe of the action while everyone else is engaged in conversation. Second rule of thumb: be brave. If it is your first time attending Internext, then chances are that you will not already know who everyone is and even though you may have talked to many of your contacts online, you probably will not recognize them in person. You must take the bull by the horns and make yourself known. Do not be afraid to walk up to total strangers and introduce yourself. If the thought of doing this makes you want to vomit, then perhaps it will help if you loosen yourself up with a couple of drinks first. 

Ok, now it is time for a little schooling in proper networking technique. When you interact with new contacts for the first time, there is always the traditional business card exchange. What do you do with this business card? The first chance you get to be alone, grab a pen and start writing on the back on the card what you discussed with the person, as well as some of their details or interests. If you have to do this in the bathroom of the party, so be it. Just do not get caught doing it. This step is crucial because when you get home from the show you will want to follow up with the contacts that you made and it is essential that you remember what they do, what you discussed and something personal about them so that you do not sound ignorant when you go to talk to them.

Every evening, after you get home from your wild outings, sort your business cards, and then make a clean copy of all the scribbles on the backs of them. If you have brought your laptop along, put your newfound contacts into your address book ASAP and schedule times to contact them after the show is over. This will make your follow up job much, much easier when you leave the lights of Vegas and return to where it is that you call home. 

Following up with the people that you came into contact with during Internext is of the utmost importance, and sooner is always better than later. It is best to get in contact with people not long after the show so that they still have you fresh in their mind and also you can get ahead of everyone else that is doing their follow-up work. Do not just contact the people whom you think you can make money off of. It is best to follow up with everyone, even if they are not related to your line of work. It is good to know as many people as possible in the industry; it gives you credibility and works well when it comes to references.


Post Your Comments

WARNING: Any comments you post are solely your responsibility. accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever in connection with or arising from such content. Defamatory, derogatory, or other comments that we feel should be removed will, at our own discretion and ours alone.