Networking 101: How to Network Successfully at Biotech Conferences

Networking can be nerve-wracking, especially at large biotech conferences with hundreds of people. Network confidently, and it can help open doors that give you job opportunities or personal referrals for the future. Whether you’re new to the biotech industry or experienced personnel, networking is an art and a skill. Maybe you’ve been to happy hours or smaller events where you meet a handful of people at a time. In contrast to premier events, you might ask yourself, how do I make genuine and meaningful connections? As biotech recruiters who network daily, we provide our best advice for networking successfully at biotechnology conferences in this quick guide. Continue reading to learn more about dos and dont’s, preparation, and strategies to maximize your networking opportunities. We hope you can find the fun, opportunities, and joy in connecting with others after reading this Networking 101 guide.

Benefits of Networking at Biotech Conferences

Networking at biotech conferences is one of many ways to catch up with colleagues and other professionals in your network or form new business relationships with those in the industry. Creating and maintaining these connections are effective methods for discovering new opportunities through word-of-mouth and gaining valuable industry insights. In fact, some of the most serendipitous meetings can happen during a biotech conference. While waiting in line to grab a coffee or between keynote speeches, you can strike up a conversation with the person next to you and discover you have the same interests in your work. Some of these conversations can lead to lifelong business relationships that turn into personal job referrals or ways to learn about opportunities that aren’t publicly advertised. When you can network well and form great connections over time, business opportunities may come to you, and that benefit is priceless.

Pre-Conference Preparation

Ready to know a secret? Networking at biotech conferences can begin far before the day of the event. Pre-conference preparation will help you get your feet wet before diving into the big pool. Visit the official website or social media pages of the biotech conference you plan on attending. Official websites often list conference agendas, speakers, companies, and attendees that will be present at the event. You might also see an official hashtag for the event for posting on social media platforms. On Twitter or LinkedIn, other users and companies may use the hashtag in a post to announce their attendance and any special events like networking happy hours or booth giveaways. You can interact with others on social media platforms to schedule an interview, coffee meeting, or quick chat in advance. Researching beforehand allows you to plan and create a personal agenda to reach your networking goals.

Biotech Conferences Networking Strategies

For networking strategies, we suggest having plenty of business cards on hand and perfecting your elevator pitch. Your elevator pitch should introduce yourself, your work, and your interests in two or three sentences. At large conferences, people are on the go to the next workshop or speech, so your conversations should work fast and have a lasting impact. Practicing your pitch and having easy access to your business cards will help open and close quick dialogue. These conversations can occur during workshops, before a keynote speech, or after the conference at socializing events. With many opportunities to meet new people, the last and most crucial networking strategy is to follow up after the event. This is where exchanging business cards comes in handy. Utilize business cards to email or connect with people on LinkedIn. Send them a quick message after and reference an item from your conversation. This is how lasting business relationships begin.

Overcoming Networking Challenges

Common challenges when networking at biotech conferences are finding opportunities to meet people. While some people are more apt at speaking with people, it may also be challenging to build the courage to introduce yourself. If attending a biotech conference with colleagues, you can ask a coworker to partner with them for networking events. They can act as a networking buddy that helps begin conversations and introductions with others. You can also practice introductions and networking skills at small events before the biotech conference. The more practice and support you build, the more likely you’ll succeed with networking at biotech conferences.

Dos and Don’ts of Networking at Biotech Conferences

The art of networking is the art of making connections. Like other relationships, you want to create genuine business partnerships. Connect with people you want to continue to learn and grow with after the conference. Don’t try to sell a product or service upon meeting someone, as this can seem disingenuous. Focus on forming a foundation from where you can grow. Comparable to other social scenarios, you don’t want to interrupt ongoing conversations but rather join the conversation with relevant input. Approach networking as an authentic person and your dialogue with others can become highlights of your conference experience.

Post-Conference Follow-Up

A post-conference follow-up is crucial to sealing your networking success. As mentioned, following up with people you meet at biotech conferences is an essential networking strategy. If you do not follow up shortly after, someone could forget crucial aspects of your discussions. Building a strong network begins with following up promptly and keeping in contact with those you meet. It’s best to send a personalized email or LinkedIn message to catch up with them or see if they’ll attend another conference or industry-related event. New contacts in your network can become great industry resources and future colleagues throughout your career.

Ready to Network

Networking should be enjoyable and surprising. At biotech conferences, you never know who you’ll meet in hotel lobbies or sitting down for a quick bite of lunch. Preparation can begin beforehand, and networking should continue even after the event ends. Sometimes it’s easier with another person, but take a few of our tips, and you’ll be ready to network with others or fly solo. Building this skill is a game-changer for career opportunities and one of the easiest to practice. We hope you take this knowledge and apply you to your next networking event and biotech conference. Networking is a skill that takes time, but the benefits are priceless. Network confidently, and enjoy the journey!