Conferences are an integral part of the private capital markets. They provide opportunities for deal professionals to re-engage with old contacts, line up new clients, and to broadcast their areas of interest to the deal community at large.
But, they can also be fun. As we gear up for Axial Concord, our inaugural business development conference on September 30th, we’ve compiled a list of the 8 conference characters you’re likely to encounter at any industry event.
Think you’re a conference pro? See if you can name someone in each of the below categories.
1) The Up-and-Comer
The up-and-comer is usually an analyst or associate with little conference experience. She is genuinely interested in learning from the content of the event, and is likely sitting in on sessions and taking notes. When not in sessions, this conference character may be a bit of a fish out of water, spending more time sizing up the competition rather than engaging in conversation with other attendees.
2) The Social Butterfly
The social butterfly is often a direct evolution of the up-and-comer. This person is ready to take full advantage of the business development opportunities at the event, though he may not have mastered the best techniques yet. The social butterfly is eager to obtain invitations to all of the hot parties and cocktail hours and is looking forward to have the chance to shake hands with some of the well-known industry contacts in attendance.
3) The All-Work-No-Play
This conference-goer does not mess around. Before arriving at the event, her calendar is booked solid. This dealmaker has learned from past events, and doesn’t want to waste any time talking with someone who is not relevant to business. As a result, there is no wandering about or making random eye contact. Her focus is clear: generate a revolving door of pre-planned meetings with potential deal sources. If you catch her during an unscheduled moment, act quickly because she will be booked again before you know it.
4) The Career Conference Goer
Also known as the circuit regular, the career conference goer knows everyone in the room as a result of attending so many industry events. He is always moving from conversation to conversation with old acquaintances, and will run into someone he knows around every corner. He has already established his name and his firm, and he continues to go to events to stay top-of-mind rather than add to his Rolodex. This is probably the go-to guy for facilitating introductions to someone you’ve been looking to meet. It’s just as noticeable when he’s absent, too.
5) The Marketer
The marketer works the room morning, noon, and night, albeit from his (or her) booth. He is one of the first ones in the room in the morning, and one of the last ones packing up at night. The marketer is there to spread awareness of his company, and will go to great lengths to do so. Good connections can come when least expected, so this person wants to meet as many people and collect as many cards as possible.
6) The Social Media Aficionado
The social media aficionado is using Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other channel available to leave a clear trail of her conference participation. She is live-tweeting content, pictures, names and announcements to all of her followers to ensure that each and every part of the event is documented and made available to others. The social media aficionado’s secondary goal is to involve an increasing number of attendees in the online conversation. (Hint: #axialconcord)
7) The Business Owner
The business owner is a newer breed at industry events. Traditionally, conferences were a place for investors, bankers, and service providers, but those days are in the past. Some of the newer business development conferences now provide a place for the business owner that is looking for capital, for an exit, or to just learn about his options. The CEO may come into the event a little unsure, but as he learns more about his fellow attendees and the many options that they represent, he is sure to loosen up and be the hit of the conference.
8) The Firm Launcher
This is the person who took a leap and began his own firm recently. He probably sees familiar faces at the event, but small talk is not in his repertoire. The launcher’s main goal is spread word of his firm, and be sure that all of his old contacts are aware of his new venture. The launcher is enthusiastic and passionate about sharing his news, and hopeful that he will come away with one of his first deals.