By Jeremy Martin
Investment conferences can be intimidating places to be for a newcomer unfamiliar with them. Sometimes this is because of sheer size. Our Vancouver Resource Investment show had over 7000 attendees in January. PDAC in Toronto had some 25,000 last month.
While at times these numbers can be overwhelming, there’s still no better way to meet industry players, get your face out there, and generate opportunities for yourself and your company.
So, before you decide to stay at home and attempt Tweeting your way to success, here are a few lessons I’ve learned growing up in the industry.
Questions demonstrate intelligence, and they get to the truth. Andrew Statham, one of the rising stars in the brokerage industry, is a stand out because he’s always got his list of companies to visit and questions to ask. Everyone knows he means business. A trick I’ve learned is to ask speakers and exhibitors questions they want to answer ((ie to talk about a stock they love – or how to buy their products). A few more friends never hurt!
While we all need to communicate our stories and our opportunity criteria, we have to be careful not be jerks about it. Be humble, respect people’s intelligence, never get in over your head without disclosing that you don’t know what you’re talking about, and show genuine interest in others. For young people like me this is especially important. Jokes at your own expense are always good too.
As important as the business events of the day are, the real relationships develop after hours. Last February at a conference in Phoenix I had an opportunity to have drinks with Jeff Berwick, a speaker and editor of the excellent Dollar Vigilante newsletter. Jeff is one of the most dangerous men in finance and I found out why that night. He ended up in handcuffs and I was right there with him, so we’re friends for life now. If you don’t drink, that’s no problem, just don’t let it stop the fun. After all, we’re here for a good time, not a long time.
Glenn J. Mullen, the colorful mine finder and co-owner of the Quebec Hockey League’s Val-d’Or Foreurs recently told me: “Something always comes out of a conference, whether it’s a new project, employee, exposure or financing opportunity, but you never know what it’s going to be. So when I get home I follow up immediately. Every time. And it’s never disappointed.” I keep track of the people I meet in a database (Highrise is great for this). A spreadsheet will do just as well. It doesn’t matter how you get the job done – as long as it get’s done.
It never ceases to amaze me how somebody can show up to a conference without knowing anybody, and with a little personality be the star of the show by the next conference. The investment community is actually really friendly. Honestly, after a few of these things you’ll be high-fiving everybody.
I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming conference. Count me in for a high-five anytime.
Jeremy Martin is a Director of Business Development at Cambridge House, North America’s largest resource investment conference company. Find him at the Toronto Reasource Investment Conference Sept. 15, 16, 2011, and at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference Jan. 22, 23. You can follow him on Twitter here.