Five Tips for Successful Networking at drupa 2016

Heading to drupa 2016? The right impressions on the right people can forge new relationships, and open new doors for you and your business.

Arrive at drupa, and they’re the first thing you see. They’re manning the stands. They’re on the stages. They’re filing endlessly through the Messe. And you’re one of them. If there’s one thing drupa has in spades, it’s smart, interesting people.

In fact, the 2016 event promises to bring together some 315,000 experts from the print, media and multichannel industries.

That’s an incredible opportunity to forge the kind of new connections that open new doors for your organization – and for you as an individual.

But making a strong, positive impression fast? In the middle of a packed, noisy event floor? That’s an art in itself. So, when you’re preparing for your trip to Düsseldorf, take the time to brush up on your networking skills.

Here are our five top tips for doing just that, and making lasting connections inside and outside the exhibition halls.

1. Do your homework

Bookmark the drupa database and online showrooms now. As you work to make the most of your time at the show, they’re going to be your new best friend.

It lists the companies exhibiting, with short profiles and key figures for each, and – even better – contains details of contact people for the event. Take this information as the basis for some further research on places like LinkedIn and Twitter, and you can make sure you’re not only talking to the right people, but engaging them on their areas of interest.

2. Value your time

Great networking takes a little time – and your time in Düsseldorf is a precious resource. When you do your preliminary research, don’t plan to meet too many people. It’s better to form three or four genuinely useful connections than to spread yourself too thinly, and come away with a lot of business cards but no shared memories.

3. Be interesting, but be interested too

When you do get in front of a person you want to talk business with, there’s a great temptation to dictate the conversation – and steer it towards your goals.

While you’ll want to talk shop eventually, holding back will help you build rapport. Instead, listen, ask questions, and don’t be limited to business deals and industry speculation – who knows, it could be your mutual love of winter sports that ultimately forges your business relationship.

4. Dress right

You want to be comfortable, but you also want to show you care about your appearance. Striking the balance can be tricky, but it’s important. Dressing right won’t just give you confidence – it’ll give the people you’re talking to confidence that you take yourself, and your work, seriously.

5. Follow up

This is essential. You can meet the right people and make the right impression, but if you don’t follow up, that impression will vanish faster than a souvenir bottle of Altbier.

A simple email or LinkedIn request can be enough to cement your existence in your contact’s mind – perhaps building on something you spoke about, and pointing to an article or report they might find interesting.

That’s it – good luck

We hope you find these tips useful. Remember, the most important thing when networking is to be yourself. Just make sure it’s your best, most interested, most engaged self.

One final thought. Some of the most productive networking you do at drupa may well be outside the walls of the Messe. If you’ve yet to download a copy of our ”day and night” guide to the event, do so now.

As well as featuring special maps of the event floor, negotiation tips and a wealth of other advice for making the most of drupa’s daylight hours, it includes our recommendations for city exploration, drinking and dining – so you can network by night as well.

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