Your Ultimate Guide to Networking at NCSM 2016

Whether you’re new to the NCSM Conference or a seasoned attendee, dig into our guide to making the most of three days of learning from leaders in math education and networking with colleagues from all over the country.

Before You Go

1. Get a Jump-Start on Networking
Check out #NCSM16 and @MathEdLeaders on Twitter, and support your favorite presenters by favoriting and retweeting their tweets. And keep posted on the latest conference news at the NCSM Facebook page. Here’s a complete list of Twitter handles for NCSM 2016:

2. Plan Your Schedule Ahead of Time
The best place to meet colleagues who share your interests and teaching goals is before sessions—so come early, grab a seat, and start a conversation! There are a mind-boggling 300 different sessions scheduled! Don’t miss out on connecting with your favorite education leaders and other educators who share your interests. Check out the A–Z speaker index for a quick Who’s Who at NCSM 2016.

The best place to meet colleagues who share your interest and teaching goals is before sessions—so come early, grab a seat, and start a conversation!

3. Sign up to Volunteer
Volunteering at the NCSM Annual Conference is a great way to network, make new friends, and contribute to enhancing the experience for others. If you’re interested in volunteering, fill out this form.

At the Event: 5 Ways to Network

Although we typically rely on the virtual world to connect with colleagues, nothing beats face-to-face interaction. Here are 5 tips for how to network with ease:

  • Think differently. Many people shy away from networking because they’re timid or they feel that it is somehow inauthentic. Change your mind if that’s the case—it really is good for you and your career. Stay motivated and think about the great things ahead.
  • Know thyself. By now, you know if you do best in one-to-one, small-group, or large-group interactions. Think about your style, and check out the possible opportunities (like the ones below) that set you up for success.
  • Set goals. Related to the item above, think about who you want to meet and why. You can set up a connection through social media actions in advance—do a bit of research on who will be attending. Are you looking to change careers, locations, learn about something in particular? Create some goals in terms of how many new contacts you want to make: 2, 5, or 10? It’s up to you. Write down what you want to achieve and make a plan in advance.
  • Talk … less. The best way to be a great conversationalist is to ask a leading question and then simply listen. Rather than say any more, we’ll refer you to this great article.
  • Follow up. Once you’ve made your connection, make sure that you keep it alive by setting up another meeting at the conference, or maintaining social media contact. Try to follow up immediately after NCSM 2016 to make sure the conversation you’ve had is fresh in your new friend’s mind.

5 Mobile Apps to Make Networking Easy

There are a handful of important aspects of networking that are made easier through these mobile apps:

  • Foursquare: This is a search-and-discovery app that makes it easy to keep track of multiple colleagues at multiple events. Foursquare also lets you know what events are taking place near you, who’s hanging out there, and other tips from others already there—essential knowledge for networking!
  • CardMunch: One of the most difficult tasks at conferences is keeping track of the multitude of business cards fattening your wallet, and then entering the information into LinkedIn, Facebook, or your email address book. CardMunch is easy to use and quickly scans business cards and pulls the information into LinkedIn.
  • Evernote Hello: This app is like CardMunch on steroids! Scan business cards or enter information manually, and it automatically inputs into your DayTimer, LinkedIn profile, Facebook account, phone contacts, and more. Instantly connect a group of people using the Hello Connect feature.
  • Namerick: Avoid the networking faux pas of forgetting a new acquaintance’s name when you run into them again. This application enables you to quickly record a name and notes concerning the person, such as where you met and what you have in common. Browse your contacts and quiz yourself at night, or in the morning before heading out for day two!
  • Vivastream: One way to increase your chances of meeting like-minded people is through Vivastream, a social platform for business professionals. NCSM can get crowded, and Vivastream helps you filter and find people. Simply join the network using your LinkedIn profile, and choose tags that best reflect your interests and expertise. You’ll be able to find people on Vivastream who are attending particular sessions and have tags relevant to your own.