NCA Convention Networking & Events
Where the coffee community connects.
Bring your business cards!
We've redesigned our 2019 programming to ensure that all Convention attendees get maximum opportunities to make connections with industry leaders and decision makers. Be sure to check out the networking buffet lunch in the Exhibitor Hall Friday, and our new interactive educational sessions.
Of course, we maintain that the NCA's legendary social events are the best way to make a new business connection - or best friend - in the coffee industry.
You won't want to miss this year's top-tier local cuisine, curated cultural highlights, and excellent company. (And, as always, you can be sure to expect some special surprises.)
Once you're in Atlanta, our updated mobile app can help you stay informed, reach out to new connections, and set up meetings face-to-face.
NCA 2019 Featured Networking Events
7 Steps to Networking at NCA 2019
(Or Any Association Convention)
By William (Bill) Murray, CAE, NCA CEO & President
For more, connect with Bill on LinkedIn
While networking at film festivals and association conventions may seem to have little in common, there is one key aspect in which they are similar: if you plan to network at either, you’ll need to have a strategy and go prepared.
For association conventions, here’s what’s key:
1. Set strategic goals in advance.
Are you looking for a job? Which companies, recruiters, or acquaintances are most likely to help? Are you seeking vendor recommendations? Which colleagues can walk you through their experience?
While there is some value to randomly networking – like randomly buying lottery tickets – it is best to have a goal.
2. Plan tactically.
Turn your strategy into a plan. Know who you want to meet with, and reach out to them in advance. Arrange a meeting location that is practical, and let them know in advance how to reach you and why you want to get together. Convention apps are great for this purpose, as is Linkedin.
3. Be flexible.
Speaking of plans, the nature of conventions is that people’s plans will change. Attendees will arrange spontaneous meetings, get caught in presentations that run late, run into an old friend, or get lost in the convention center. Leave some time in your schedule, and be ready to adjust on the fly.
4. Check out the exhibits.
It doesn’t matter if you aren’t in the market for a service. Walking the exhibit floor can give you ideas and – most importantly – you will meet people who know other people. Every salesperson I know has an incredible list of contacts.
5. Go to the party.
Large loud parties can be problematic. Go prepared with a few simple, stock questions you can ask strangers – about their work, their role, their hometown – and don’t be afraid to break off conversations – with a simple “nice to meet you, I’m going to say hello to some more folks.”
6. Bring the right tools.
Don’t forget the business cards! And, if you are pitching a project or seeking a vendor, have access to the collateral you need – an RFP, a resume, a requirements list – via email, a jump drive, or on paper.
7. Follow up.
Be sure to collect those cards and add interesting folks to your network. A short note (“Very nice to meet you”) will make sure they remember you too.
Whether you are a baby boomer who struggles with technology and apps, or a millennial who struggles to come out from behind the screen, a balanced approach to tackling networking at industry events is the best approach to steadily growing a robust network which, over time, will help you – and your career – in unexpected ways.
Read the full post on the NCA Blog