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Networking

Successful Leaders Share How to Get the Most Out of Networking

Ahead of our Entrepreneur Live event, we asked a few of our guests how people can best utilize conferences to their benefit.
Image credit: Caiaimage/Tom Merton | Getty Images
Special Projects Director and Founder of This Dog's Life

Going to a big conference event can be intimidating – and overwhelming. There is so much to do, so many people to see and so little time.

Ahead of our Entrepreneur Live event, our day-long conference filled with information, inspiration and innovation to help you achieve your dreams, we reached out to some of our speakers, all conference pros, to ask their advice on how to make the most out of these events.

Check out what a few of them had to say.

Focus on you.

You're here to talk not listen -- even when you don't have the stage. Every entrepreneur knows that you need to tell your story to anyone willing to listen in 30 seconds or less. Go! You never know where it may lead you.

-- Cindy Whitehead
CEO of
The Pink Ceiling, a strategy and mentorship program for female business owners

Related: 'Bar Rescue' Star Jon Taffer Shares the One Thing That Helped Him Find Success

Have a plan.

Before the conference, ask yourself: what does my ideal future look like? Think about that ideal future a lot. Envision it. Now, at the conference, back out the steps that will take you there. Focus on those steps. Zoom in on related info, ask questions related to those steps and develop new relationships who can continue to guide you on the path to your ideal future.

-- Bert Jacobs
CEO of
Life is Good, an apparel company focusing on inspiring its wearers

Be authentic.

Genuinely get to know the person sitting next to you. People like doing business with people they like. You never know who might be your next investor, partner or customer, but don’t make that your objective.  Make friends first. Later you can invite them to become part of your advisory board, leadership committee or another counselor position. This invites a deeper dive into the organization, which then may create interest in becoming an investor, partner or customer.

-- Keith Krach
Chairman of
DocuSign, an electronic signature company

Related: From Buffy to Business: Sarah Michelle Gellar Opens Up About How Hollywood Helped Prepare Her for Launching a Company

Be curious.

Network and meet as many people as you can. Also, take genuine interest and really hear the stories of people.

-- Peter Kim
CEO of
Hudson Jeans, premium jeans for men and women