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One of my favorite business books is “Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time” by Keith Ferrazzi, and I would suggest reading it in the near future.
But for now, I am just touching on the title of his book.
Meals at a conference are a great time to meet multiple people and build on relationships. Be sure you have a pass that includes the conference meals, so you don’t miss out on this precious networking time. If you don’t have the right pass, inquire about an upgrade.
Then, at the conference, seek out tables of strangers and ask if it’s OK to join them for meals. Get the introductions going and find out what everybody is doing and who they are.
And then try to identify whether you can help your new friends through something you do in your business or an introduction to somebody else at the conference.
If you can’t get a pass that has access to the conference meals, try to organize a group to get together in a nearby restaurant.
The important thing is that you don’t waste these meals by sleeping in or sneaking off to your room to catch up on email.
If you’re not present for meals, you may just as well not be present for the conference.