Q&A: Networking at GSX

We sat down with John McDermott, business development manager at Securitas and first-time attendee at GSX 2023 in Dallas, to discuss his experience networking and his advice for future first-timers. Read on for what he had to say!

Q: What advice would you give to a first-time attendee about networking at GSX, what is the best way to meet people and introduce yourself? 

A: The best advice for anyone going to GSX to network, is to not narrow your networking to just your specific market of security. Go and meet as many people as possible. Of course, you want to speak to potential prospects, partners, clients, etc., so carve out time for them and stop by their booths – but you never know who that might be in the future. Speak to as many people as possible and stop by any booth that catches your eye. It could lead to a potential new client or influencer – worst case scenario, it could just be a new friend in the industry! 

Q: There are lots of events going on. How do you decide which ones to attend? 

A: It is a great question and a true statement! Lots of events in a short amount of time. First check with any prospects/clients to see if they are already attending any events and be sure to stop by to say hello. Otherwise go to the ones that seem like they will be the most fun! If an event is fun, the people you want to surround yourself with will be there. Sometimes the secret event may just be the hotel bar – a relaxed environment, with no performance or reserved tables. Meeting individuals with their guard down is a great way to build professional relationships. 

Q: What is the best way to keep in touch with people you meet at GSX after the conference?   

A: This is just like keeping in touch with friends from summer camp or team mates outside of the sports season. Sometimes it is easy as you are in the same city and can grab a coffee/lunch once a quarter. Other times it could be LinkedIn activity with comments/likes or taking the extra step to call and discuss something going on at work that is relevant to something you spoke about at GSX or that you know would be of interest to that individual. If it isn’t a relationship that is organically going to grow from business operations, there will be extra leg work to maintain relationships but that is networking! At the end of the day some friends will just be a 3-day friendship at GSX each year, like catching up with an old friend.