Conferences give law firms the chance to connect with a wide range of industry leaders. There are events held each year that attract attorneys seeking to build their practices and connect with other legal professionals.

But turning conference connections into lasting opportunities for your practice isn’t always easy.

Planning ahead, seeking out the connections you want to make, and following up are just some of the steps you need to consider before your next event.

The following are the essentials that need to be in place to get the most out of your participation in industry conferences and get real results from the connections you make.

Plan Ahead for Your Conference

Planning ahead is one of the most commonly overlooked steps to connecting at conferences. Taking the time to identify the professionals you want to meet makes the process easier.

One of the best ways to do this is through social media. Almost every conference held today has a hashtag that lets attendees and others follow the daily events.

Search social media and other online resources to see who will be there. Introduce yourself early so that you can connect and engage with those key individuals.

Learn about what they do and their area of expertise. This leads to more meaningful conversations as soon as you meet and shows that you’re genuinely interested in connecting with them.

Connect With Your Existing Contacts

It’s likely that many people you already know are also attending industry conferences. Although it’s a great opportunity to make new connections, it also gives you a chance to strengthen those that you’ve already made.

Contact your existing network to find out who will be attending and schedule a time to meet with them at the event. Consider organizing a networking event for your existing connections. This can be a branded event that generates more visibility for your practice.

Ask the Right Questions

Meeting new people can be difficult for some. But asking the right questions helps you gain new insights into the potential opportunities that conference connections may offer.

The best questions are those that you can ask any new connection. Whether it’s a professional or personal question, think about what conference attendees are most interested in talking about.

This is especially important in talks that you attend at the conference. Asking the right questions to conference speakers gets you noticed while helping you connect with speakers and other industry leaders.

Be Everywhere and Be Seen

It’s easy to get lost in the crowd. But making an effort to attend as many conference meetups as possible is a great way to gain more visibility among fellow attendees.

Lectures, breakfast events, and other gatherings are always taking place at industry conferences. Find out what events are occurring each day and make yourself known at each one.

The more familiar you become, the more willing other participants are to approach you or be approached by you. Repeated exposure builds trust and credibility.

Consider wearing a “uniform” or a particular item each day. This makes you stand out and enhances your branding. Engage with others repeatedly so that you become a familiar face in the crowd.

Turning conference connections into lasting opportunities is easy when you know what steps to put in place.

Planning in advance, using social media, and making yourself more visible are some of the ways to grow your network and create new opportunities for your practice.

What strategies have worked best for you at conferences you’ve attended? Let us know your tips for making new connections and strengthening existing ones in the comments below.

Getting the most out of your next conference gives you a greater return on your efforts and ensures that your law firm establishes itself as a recognized and trustworthy leader in your industry.

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