Top tips for networking at pharma conferences

November 8, 2023
By Ted Marriott

Making meaningful connections with fellow professionals and researchers is key to advancing your career in the clinical trials industry, and there’s no better place to forge those relationships than at pharma conferences and events, where some of the best and brightest meet. We get it though – networking can be daunting, whether you’re an extrovert or introvert and particularly if you’re new to them! That’s why we wanted to collate some top tips to help you get the most out of networking.


  1. Why should you attend pharma conferences?
  2. Top tips for networking
  3. Meet CGX at the Setha Exp

Why should you attend pharma conferences?

Whether you’re looking to expand your LinkedIn network or there’s a researcher or business you’re keen to meet, there are so many reasons to attend pharma conferences and events. Not only will they play a key role in advancing your job prospects, but there are also so many valuable long-term skills and experiences to be gained at each event and conference you attend, particularly if you are a graduate or a career-changer.

Beyond the instant connections you’ll make and the latest research and technologies you’ll learn about, networking at pharma conferences will play a crucial role in developing the soft skills in communication and presentation that will be pivotal as you advance in your career.

Why are you passionate about clinical research? What are you looking to get out of your first or next role? What can you bring to a company?  Answering these questions means you can pitch yourself to future employers.Developing and mastering your elevator pitch is a key tool that will see you through from your first Clinical Trials Administrator (CTA) role to your promotion to Clinical Project Manager (CPM) and beyond. Conferences and networking events are some of the best opportunities you have to flex that skill, and meet some amazing new people!

Top tips for networking

So, with all of this in mind, what can you do to get the most out of your time at pharma conferences?

Be prepared:

Your time is precious, so make sure you use every minute of it effectively! Before you arrive, get hold of the conference brochure or information to see who is attending. If there’s an event page on social media, take a look at the attendees there too. Make a list of all the people you want to meet and make sure you do your research on them before introducing yourself. If you’re familiar with anyone attending, don’t forget to send them a message to let them know you’re coming  – you never know who they could introduce you to.

On arrival, get your bearings and find a map to familiarise yourself with the location and plan your route for the day, including the events you want to attend. Don’t forget to factor in any coffee breaks too  – they’re a great opportunity to meet people and start your networking.

Start talking:

So how do you strike up a conversation? The first one may be daunting, but trust us, the more you do it, the easier they’ll get. Just start by introducing yourself, ask them what brought them to the conference today, find relevant links between yourself and the person you’re speaking with (whether they’re professional or friendly), bring up any talks you may have both attended or are looking forward to. Most importantly, don’t forget to relax and actively listen to what the person is saying.

Promote yourself:

Have something you can easily share so you can connect and stay in touch with people. You don’t necessarily need to fork out for business cards, (particularly if you’re just starting to attend events), a QR code on your phone that links to your LinkedIn profile or relevant website is just as effective and free.

Make the most of social opportunities:

At the end of the day there may be an informal, relaxed drinks reception at the conference. If there is, make sure you attend. This is a great chance to meet and mingle, particularly if you’ve spent the day attending talks, stalls and absorbing information.


You’ve made lots of new contacts, now make the most of them. Connect with them on socials, send them a short message, keep up to date with their activities and what they’re posting and stay engaged. If anyone offered you any opportunity  – whether it was a link to new and relevant information, to meet someone else or just grab a coffee  – make sure you follow up with them.

Remember, practice makes perfect:

The more conferences you attend, the easier it gets. Every conference is an opportunity to build your knowledge and expertise of your field, deliver your elevator pitch and grow in confidence. You may start to see familiar faces too.

Meet CGX at the Setha Expo

Looking to put these networking skills to the test? The 2023 SETHA International MedTech Expo & Conference is a great place to start. This event will bring together over 220 companies in both the public and private sectors as sponsors and exhibitors to discuss their work in the healthcare industry.

CGX is very excited to be at the event this year, and we would love to meet you to learn more about your goals, background and how we can help take your career to the next step with our clinical trials training courses. The event is taking place on Friday the 3rd November. You can find out more and register here.

Can’t make it? We’d still love to hear from you! Contact us today and we’ll be happy to answer your questions and book in a free consultation.

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