Smart Networking Tips for #NAFSA14

Raghuram Sukumar Edu News 3 Comments

NAFSA Annual Conference will be in San Diego from May 25 to May 20, 2014. I will be attending the entire week of conference.

san diego convention center

Image Via Flickr

Here’s my itinerary

  • Sunday –  Fly to San Diego, California
  • Monday to Friday – Attend Conference
  • Saturday – Fly Back home.
  • Staying at Westin (I’m still looking for a Room Mate)

This is the second time at NAFSA Annual Conference. Back in 2012, I went to NAFSA’s Conference in Houston.  I couldn’t attend the lats year conference in St.Louis. I’m exited for this year’s conference.

What is NAFSA :

Association of International Educators is the world’s largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange.  The NAFSA annual conference brings together more than 8,400 professionals in the field of international education for five packed days of training workshops, educational sessions, networking opportunities, and special events. ( From )

What I will be Doing in NAFSA?

  1. Meet with current clients
  2. Networking  (From ETS to IELTS to Colleges, service providers, admission directors, DSO’s, etc)
  3. Learn about challenges faced by schools in recruiting students in India. ( if you have any, Let’s talk).
  4. Connect with New Clients
  5. Spread the word about Happy Schools Blog
  6. Record Lots of video interviews ( everyone welcome to pitch  their products and services )
  7. Live Blogging
  8. Hashtag for conference #NAFSA14

Live Blogging

I will be live blogging from NAFSA. There will be one Blog Post per Day (from Sunday)

Video Interviews

This is going to be awesome. I will be recording 2 forms of videos

  • Short Promo Videos – Using instagram  ( 15 seconds)
  • Long Promo Videos –  iPhone and Flip.

Should you do a Promo Video with Happy Schools Blog?

Yes, everyone’ welcome. Takes less than 2 minutes to record a video for my readers ( Over Half Million Monthly Visitors and 50,000+ social followers)

So, if you have a product  to pitch or recruiting international students from India or service provide, let me  give you a free shutout to my readers.


Send me an email or Tweet Me @happyschools

Tips for First Timer’s to NAFSA

When I went to Houston as first timer to NAFSA, I was anxious and had lot of questions. It took me a day to figure out what’s going around and how to navigate the event.

I think my biggest mistake was attending several sessions and spent less time networking and meeting new people.

But, this time around, I have hand-picked sessions to attend.

Rest of the time will be spent meeting new people and building relationships and recording interviews. Of-course, I look forward for the late night parties.

  1. Dress Code – Formal to Business Casual. Wear a comfortable shoes. You will be walking a lot ( and dancing)
  2. Have a Plan – Plan your day, if you haven’t made meeting or session plans. Be Flexible as well.
  3. I would give importance to personal meetings than a session, unless the session is really important to you.
  4. Car Rental – Not required. You will not find time to go places during the week.

Networking Tips

  1. Introduce Yourself to any strange with NAFSA Name Tag and the bag.
  2. Majority of folks attending the NAFSA will be in network ready mode. So, a friendly smile and handshake can be work magic for your business or career.
  3. Here’s one good example  :  While waiting in line to buy the lunch at Houston conference, I introduced myself to someone standing behind me. We spent next 20 minutes talking about the conference, travel,  and food. Guess what, I got a new client because that meeting, because the person happen to be an associate of a client I was trying to work with. Got  a good referral then business.
  4. Late Night Parties : I made a lot of new friends over the late night parties. It’s fun when you exchange business card on the dance floor.
  5. Make use of every opportunity to meet new people.

I’m in Network Ready Mode for #NAFSA14. Smile, Introduce yourself.  Single Handshake can mark the beginning of new journey for your Business and Career.

[div class=”content-box-yellow”] Yes! I’m in Network Ready Mode for #NAFSA14. Smile and Introduce Yourself. Tweet Me. [end-div]

Business Cards

You will be giving out lot of business cards and collecting lots of cards as well.

I exchanged about 350 cards in last conference. This time I have about 600 cards printed and ready to go.

Networking in such huge conference is all about making an impression, so people will remember something unique about you.

Make sure you make use of every possible opportunity to make an impression. It begins with a friendly smile, hand shake and exchange of Business Cards.

I wanted to make sure my card will be a memorable and unique. It comes in 8 different colors and you get to pick your favorite color. I bet you are going to remember that moment few days and weeks from now.


happy schools blog business card

Last time, before going to bed, I made notes on the each business card ( even if I was half asleep after 4 hours of non-stop dancing).

  • What I remember about them
  • Where I met them ( Expo Hall, walkway, etc)
  • How soon should I contact them after the conference.
  • Separate envelope for business card collected by Day.

This time around, I will be using Hello App from Evernote on my iPhone.

  • I can scan the card after exchange
  • App will Match their LinkedIn profile
  • I can send an Invite to connect with me on Linked right there.
  • Plus, I can add notes about the meeting as well.
  • I’m thinking if I should give the card back to them (save paper and trees). Should I?

I conclude my post here.

[div class=”content-box-yellow”] Smart Networking Tips for #NAFSA14 from Business Cards to Meetings. Just Make them Memorable. Tweet Me. [end-div]

Do you have any other networking tips to add?


    1. Gorgeous City with full on sunshine and awesome weather throughout the year, and off course friendly people

  1. Awesome Post!!!!! Valuable information and tips about how to attend any Conference.

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