How GovCon Got Its Groove Back: Networking Best Practices

In-person events are back in force, but we're all a little rusty at networking. Anyone who has attended an in-person event recently has likely had the conversation with fellow attendees, "Wow, I'm not sure how to do this anymore." To help us all get back in our groove, we wanted to pull together a list of tried and true as well as some new tips to make your attendance at the next government networking event feel a bit more natural.

  • Fully charge your phone and update your apps. More and more events are going paperless, asking attendees to access event information including agendas, surveys, and more on their phones. This change is environmentally friendly and also reduces the number of shared surfaces that are touched. Before attending an event check the website to see if they recommend downloading a specific app before you step foot on site. Charging stations are becoming more plentiful at events, but to avoid being tethered, make sure your phone is charged and ready to work as hard as you do at the event.
  • Plan ahead. With so much information online and on event apps, we now have more resources to help us plan our time at an event. Take a look at the agenda and map out the sessions that you would really like to attend. See where you can build in some breaks to check back in with the office or to grab a coffee with a fellow attendee. Also, get a sense of who might be there and plan out who you need to see in person at the event.
  • Understand the power of introductions. With people working from home more often, there's less opportunity to meet new people. When you do go into the office, it's a purposeful visit likely stacked with meetings deemed in-person "worthy." Events are a great way to meet new people and expand your circle beyond your couch and office, but don't keep all the relationships to yourself. As you are talking to people, make sure to introduce everyone in the group to ensure that each person has that same opportunity to increase their professional sphere.
  • Plan for follow-up. After an event, we may all return to our home offices, limiting the chances we'll run into one another at the deli on the corner between our offices or be able to coordinate a last minute coffee. As you meet people, be intentional about when and how you could get together again.

Here are a number of government technology events that can help you put these tips to work:

  • 23rd Biannual DoD/VA & Government HIT Summit (October 12-13, 2022; Oxen Hill, MD) - This event is designed as a non-partisan, educational & training "Town-Hall-style" Summit to highlight the Federal government's efforts to provide Veterans/Active-Duty high-quality outcomes & the most advanced healthcare solutions, through a single, unified, & interoperable health IT approach.
  • Engage & Connect Series | New (Fiscal) Year, New Government Tech (October 13, 2022; Tysons, VA) - This event, produced by AFCEA Bethesda, aims to foster better inter-agency communication, share best practices and lessons learned, and identify mission-critical issues affecting the federal IT community.
  • Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2022 (October 17-20, 2022; Lake Buena Vista, FL) - This symposium will explore innovative and transformational opportunities with a global community of experts and peers. Attendees will walk away with insights and expert guidance on the future direction of technology, best practices to define and validate IT strategies and real-world examples of how to execute on key initiatives.
  • GAIN 2022 (October 18, 2022; Tysons, VA) - Grow, Accelerate, Innovate and Network, GAIN 2022, is the premier conference focused on training, research insights, networking and member-only experiences that better enable marketers and sales professionals to reach the government audience.
  • 2022 Joint NDIA/AIA Fall Industrial Security Conference (October 24-26, Tucson, AZ) - This bi-annual conference serves as the forum for executive-level security leadership and policy-makers across federal agencies and industry to address major government security topics.
  • EDUCAUSE Annual Conference (October 25-28, 2022; Denver, CO) - This higher ed IT event brings together professionals and technology providers from around the world to discuss their discoveries, grow professionally, and explore solutions to continuing challenges.

Search for your areas of interests on and get back out there to build your network!

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