I have recently attended a few business meetings and events where like-minded entrepreneurs speak about their businesses, achievements and give tips. These events happen frequently, so it's now even easier to be around inspiring people. The trouble is however, that many of the Speakers often forget one of the most important roles of being on the panel.
Entrepreneurs from all over have travelled to the event to make offline connections with other inspired people. In essence, it's about being in and around the industry, being inspired and connecting with others in a way that bonds stronger than online (otherwise they would've stayed at home and watched a TED talk). The role of a Speaker is to facilitate this exchange, encourage and help it to develop - especially when the audience is listening intently to the speakers every word.
Instead of this, what I see happening a lot of the time is the ego and 'self-worth' driving the connections. Sure, it's important to talk about your skills and knowledge, but never forget to take it further. This is especially evident at the end of a talk, where the Speakers huddle into the 'cool group' instead of mingling with the crowd that came to see them.
What Should Speakers Be Doing?
Get in and amongst the crowd that came to see you. Speak to everyone who is interested in a discussion - not just the movers and shakers that will grow your own business. Realise that the strongest time to build a network is the honest back and forth discussions that happen before and after the talk. There may be a few weird moments where fans just want to stand in your presence because you inspired them and left them speechless. But it's at that moment you should be working out what makes them tick, what they're interested in and what they got from the talk. It's only then that you will know how well you did, what you can do better and how well you connected to your audience.