Richard Bistrong on Conference Networking [Podcast]

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By Adam Turteltaub

Some people have a gift for invisibly attending a conference, and no one knows that they were even there. That’s great for a conference of spies, but most people at compliance conferences like to meet at least some of the other attendees.

For many, though, connecting with strangers is difficult, whether they know no one or they are shy about going beyond their usual circle of contacts.

So what do you do if you are one of them?

To find out we spoke with Richard Bistrong (LinkedIn), newsletter author and CEO Of Frontline Antibribery, who will be moderating a general session at the 2024 SCCE European Compliance & Ethics Institute in Amsterdam.

If you spot someone standing alone and looking a bit lost, he recommends you think like a host and invite them to join you. Even if you’re already talking with friends, he advises being a croissant and not a bagel: be sure there is an opening for others. Make the effort to catch them up with the conversation – “we were just discussing helplines”—and ask them to share their thoughts.

If you hesitate to join conversations because you don’t feel you are good at small talk, think of a few questions in advance to use as ice breakers. They don’t have to be traditional compliance-related questions. You could ask people about what excited them the most in the last year. Richard often uses Vertellis cards to start or help conversations.

For those at the conference with a friend or colleague, use the other person as your wingman or wingwoman. Tell them who you are interested in meeting and have them serve as a second set of eyes and ears.

Also, don’t forget about the SCCE & HCCA staff as a source of connection. See if they know someone it would be good for you to talk with.

Listen in to learn more, including how to follow up properly after the conference is over.

Then, be sure to say hello to Richard (and offer him a croissant) in Amsterdam at the 2024 SCCE European Compliance & Ethics Institute, March 18-20.