Take a second to imagine an event you attended recently. When the keynote presentation ended, vendors and attendees were released into the exhibit hall where they flocked to the booths with sweet portable chargers and margaritas. Other eventgoers awkwardly huddled with their coworkers around the tall tables by the refreshments. Still more busted out their tablets and dug into email.
The only problem here is that you had a reason for coming to this event. Perhaps it was to find new business, network with peers in your industry, or close a deal. Let's be real -- you're not going to accomplish any of that if you sit at a table texting or pretending to do work on your laptop until it's time to meet up with your colleagues for the afterparty.
In this infographic, we've outlined the best tactics to get the most out of any event. My favorite professor used to say, "Prior proper planning prevents poor performance." With this mantra in mind, use these tactics to plan ahead of time, work the room at the event, and follow up with new connections afterwards.
If you're successful, go ahead and treat yourself to some afterparties (they can be great places to meet people in a more casual setting, as well). Pro tip: Don't get crazy.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.