What turns a good conference into a great one? Informative speakers and interesting exhibitions are important – but the real magic comes from actually connecting with people on a level that makes sense to both parties.

At your next conference, ask yourselves these questions. Are the people you meet the right ones? Do you have conversations that mean something? Do (or will) those conversations lead to a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties?

For loop88 (and me), Web Summit answered all of these questions with a resounding YES. And it went further, not simply connecting me to the right people but also creating the right conditions for serendipitous encounters.

If not for Web Summit, loop88 would not have cemented an investor for our Pinterest marketing platform. If not for Web Summit, loop88 would not have landed a new client for our platform. Though in the interests of accuracy, I should say “Web Summit and my mother”, because she taught me to sew and told me it was a skill that would always come in handy. And my mom is almost always right.

Let me explain. One Web Summit afternoon, I was meeting the CEO of MediaLink, Michael Kassan, in the lobby of his hotel when he asked if he could personally make an investment in loop88. I was touched. Michael is one of my favorite people – honest, direct, kind.

Just as we were finishing up, Shelley Zalis of Ipsos arrived to meet with Michael for dinner. But right when she walked up, a button popped off of her jacket – and neither she nor Michael knew how to sew. As my Mom taught me to always be prepared, I quickly volunteered to help sew the button back on. My pinners would be so proud of my DIY moment.

As I carefully sewed, Michael began to talk with Shelly all about loop88 and the amazing work on Pinterest we have been doing. It was meant to be. Shelley has since become a mentor to me and Ipsos has become a valuable partner through their Ipsos Girls’ Lounge – a place for female executives to connect at industry events.

An investor, a partner and a mentor – serendipitous moments like these make Web Summit a great event. It’s being open to opportunity – and maybe being a decent schmoozer – that help make those little moments turn into something much.

Originally featured on the Collision Conference blog.

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