The most valuable part of OzPod 2017 isn’t written in the program.

Having a large chunk of the podcast industry in one place is such a rare thing. The podcasters you’ll meet — and the conversations you’ll have — before, during, and after the event are momentous.

‘Networking’ is a bit of a greasy term. Let’s not call it networking. Think of it as ‘meeting people’ (phew, that feels better). Meeting people is known to lead to learning, collaborating and possibly, friendship.

But starting a conversation with someone you don’t know can be nerve wracking, even when everyone’s rallying around a shared passion like podcasting.

That’s why OzPod is introducing Pod-Match to give you a hand. We hope it will help you break the ice.


Hey Hey it’s a Pod-Match™

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1. There’ll be a random name listed in fine print on your lanyard. It’s someone else attending the conference.

2. Your challenge is to track that person down.

3. When you find them, congratulations, you’ve made a Pod-Match!

4. Talk to that person about how cool it was to have found them. If appropriate, take a photo and share it #podmatch.


Please note, everyone coming to OzPod 2017 is cool by definition.

So Pod-Match can help you with one person. But what about the other 300 people attending the conference?

Here are five basic tips to help you make new, meaningful connections at OzPod 2017.


Have some starter questions in your back pocket

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Avoid asking:

  • How’d you get here?
  • What do you do?
  • Was Eugene Goosens a podcaster?
  • How good are the chicken sandwiches?

Try asking:

  • What’s been your biggest takeaway so far?
  • What are you working on at the moment?
  • How are you hoping to improve your podcast?
  • Would you like to try some of my delicious chicken sandwich?

Listen, hard

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It’s not a great feeling when you’re opening up about a killer idea and the person you’re talking to starts looking over your shoulder.

People from every corner of the Australian podcast industry are coming to OzPod. Each attendee has unique perspectives and insights that could change your thinking.

I guarantee your biggest learnings will come from the places you least expect.

Be ready when that time comes by offering your full attention.


Have an exit strategy

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For reasons unknown, when a conversation comes to a natural end, it can be hard to wrap it up.

It doesn’t need to be awkward. Everyone is excited to be at OzPod and has lots of catching up to do, as well as new people to meet. People understand that.

You don’t need to make an excuse. Here’s one way to be straight up about ending a chat.

“It was nice to meet you Frank [or another name, if their name isn’t Frank]”.

And then stick your arm out to shake their hand.

They will know what to do.


Continue the conversation after OzPod

You might find yourself at OzPod, chicken sandwich in hand, totally enthralled and inspired by someone you’ve just met. And then the bell rings: it’s time to head back for another session.

Firstly, you need to finish your sandwich.

But more importantly, you’re going to want to finish the chat later. Luckily, it’s simple to make that happen:

1. Find that person on the appropriate social platform

2. Add the interesting person

3. Follow up with that person later

Some people like to bring business cards to OzPod. If you have some, remember to bring them. But if not, don’t sweat it. Finding someone on social with your phone, on the day, is just as good.


Hack the Pod-Match™ system

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Finally, if there’s somebody you really want to meet, but you’ve run out of courage and need a hand introducing yourself, why not hack Pod-Match?

Write their name over your Pod-Match name and pretend it was a big coincidence you randomly got them.

By the time they figure out what you’ve done you’ll be knee deep in a great conversation.

OzPod 2017: Australian Podcast Conference is on Friday September 8. 

For more on podcasting say hello on Medium.