If like me you’re at DocuSign MOMENTUM 2014 in San Francisco right now, you may be thinking how you can get the most out of the event. To save your brain first thing in the morning, especially after the welcome reception, here are some top tips on how to make best use of your time and make the most of DocuSign MOMENTUM 2014.

Forward thinking is key

Make sure you have a plan. Think about the speakers you want to see, the booths you want to visit and who you want to meet, either exactly or at least what kind of people you’re interested in, whether it be CEO, CIO or beyond.

Unplug from your tech.

Don’t spend every break scanning emails or shouting about what you’re doing on social. You might end up looking like you’re engrossed in work and unapproachable. Of course keeping up to date with the wider world is important, utilize your breaks to chat to others and do your social networking offline instead of on.

Arrange appointments in advance

If you know there’s a certain person you must meet then get in touch before the show, see if you can arrange to meet for a casual coffee or event lunch. As the old saying goes failing to plan means you’re planning to fail. Running into key contacts can be great but the best will always be the busiest so the only way to ensure you’ll get some proper time together is to reach out in advance. For DocuSign MOMENTUM 2014 you probably should have done this by now, but there’s always next year!

Don’t get drawn in by the cult of the celebrity

Whilst meeting world-renowned influencers and key speakers can be an insightful experience there may be better ways to use your time. These people are likely to be busy and will already have more cards than they can count. It’s better to focus on meeting people in the same shoes as you. Other attendees are the ones you’re most likely to get some real time with and engage on a personal level.

Shun shyness and say hello

When sitting in a keynote or seminar, look around you. Say hi to the people on either side of you. A simple hello can open any opportunities. Even if you don’t get a chance to talk there and then, you’ve already planted the seed that could grow into an open door by the end of the event.

Question everything

This might seem obvious but most people love to talk about themselves. Ask about what they do and what their aims are before revealing yours. This not only breaks the ice but helps you figure out if there’s anything in their goals that fit with your own and whether the conversation could turn into anything more.

Consider before you connect

How often have you received a LinkedIn or Facebook request from someone almost as soon as you’ve finished talking? Remember that some people use social differently and there’s nothing more off-putting than collecting contacts like they’re going out of fashion. You could make things awkward if you connect too soon and may look over-eager. At the end of your conversation ask how you can stay in touch, this means they can let you know the best way to connect. Using a tool like twitter may also be better as it is less intrusive and will enable you to stay in touch without looking too pushy.

Don’t forget the follow-up!

Following up is the final piece of the puzzle. Sharing great conversations and identifying opportunities is what networking is all about, but all your efforts will have been in vain if you don’t continue the conversation. After an event carefully consider who you met and who you’d like to continue talking to, think about the best way to get back in touch and go for it. Don’t wait for the other person to get in touch, especially as they might be waiting for you to make the first move.