While educational is a must, making connections is often the most valuable aspect of attending Safety 2019.

The conference is expected to draw 5,000 OSH professionals, each bringing unique experiences and expertise to the conference. This is a great opportunity to meet and converse with like-minded safety professionals, look for potential employers and employees, and expand your knowledge.

The conference and exposition offers a variety of ways to network, including before and after sessions, during conference lunches, at community-specific evening receptions, key issue collaboration sessions, the ASSP Lounge, community service events and social learning stations.

Keep these five networking tips from ASSP in mind this week.

Make a plan. You should identify what you want to learn, who you want to meet and what you want to take away from the experience. Are you interested in particular topics? Are you looking to improve on a certain aspect of safety and health? Review the conference program and take a look at the online schedule tool to identify the sessions and events that will help you answer these questions and guide you to the attendees you should speak with, and the topics you should discuss. This will also help you develop a schedule to organize your networking activities.

Listen and learn. When meeting speakers and attendees, involve everyone in the discussion so that they can all ask questions and share their knowledge. Asking good questions and listening to what others have to say will help foster a good discussion that is meaningful and beneficial to all involved.

Exchange business cards. It’s important to bring business cards so those you speak with can have your contact information. You will meet many people during the conference so it is important to leave something with them to remember you once the event concludes. It’s also a good idea to share social media handles as another way to stay in contact with those you meet.

Meet with exhibitors. Beyond speaking with attendees, it’s important to network with exhibitors as well. The exposition features more than 600 companies presenting the latest technology in occupational safety and health. Be sure to tour the exhibit hall for products that could benefit your business and help employees operate more safely. Expo-exclusive time between sessions, provides a great opportunity to network with both exhibitors and attendees.

Stay in touch. Networking doesn’t have to end at the conclusion of the conference. Keeping in contact by phone, e-mail and social media is a great way to continue the conversations started and extend the connections developed at the conference and keep up with industry news and best practices.