Networking is an important part of my marketing activities. Recently I was asked to participate in an experts' panel in the Softech Alliance Network's Dragon's Den Event. The format was that the assembled audience of roughly 250 IT business professionals passed questions forward and the assembled panel of experts answered them. It was a lot of fun.
Following the panel discussion we all mingled and people continued to corner each of us with additional questions. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and generate soft leads. Every one us should do what ever we can to promote ourselves through panel opportunities such as this one and other types of speaking engagements. When I do them, my goal is typically to get as much useful information out there as possible. I don't want it to appear that I'm simply giving a commercial for myself. My brand demands that I give first.
Personally engaging an audience is a very powerful opportunity for you. The audience is often quite appreciative of your time and it's a marketing initiative I embrace.