This is one of 40 LinkedIn lessons from the Integrated Alliances U LinkedIn Sales Training Program for corporate sales teams.  While it’s definitely slanted to sales, it makes a lot of sense for ANYONE that networks both in person and on-line with LinkedIn.

Networking in person is a wonderful way to forge strong business relationships, and there are a number of ways you can meet valuable future business partners. LinkedIn groups will often organize events, there are also business-orchestrated networking events and meetings, chance meetings, and meetings you go out of your way to find on EventBrite, Evite, MeetUp, and similar sites.

Event Networking with LinkedIn

When you find an event you would like to attend, check out who is hosting and find them on LinkedIn. Send a message saying you plan on attending and solidify this new connection. Even better, you might be able to get in on working the event. For example, manning the registration desk is a great place to meet people!

After arriving at an event, you should check in with the host and see if they have any suggestions about who you should meet. Ask new acquaintances if they are on LinkedIn and inquire about their usage of social media. Be prepared and have your smart phone set with the LinkedIn app.

Then, while you are together, you can ask to send the person a LinkedIn invitation. As a note, this is really the only time we recommend you use the default invite, simply because it is not practical to construct a personalized one when you are standing there speaking with the person and in fact, the phone apps don’t allow it.

LinkedIn can also be helpful at events because you can look people up as you meet them. Find similar interests or business experiences, and really take the connection to the next level. LinkedIn can show you where they fit into the conversation.

If you collect business cards while networking, as soon as possible sign into your LinkedIn account and search for them so you can tag connect. If they have a common name, add the name of their business to narrow down the results! Write a customized invitation, noting when and where you met, but also look over their profile and find more points of commonality to mention.

Using LinkedIn while networking in person can really help you form strong business relationships. The platform helps you stay in contact with people you meet, and their business card does not fall to the bottom of your desk drawer or get lost, resulting in missed opportunity.

This technique is not limited to local events.  It works well for big events and conferences like SXSW, BlogWorld, Channel Partners Conference and the like very well.  In those cases, we suggest you find

How do you use LinkedIn when networking at events? Leave a comment below and let us know.