In 2013, DJ Khaled and Drake had the world screaming, “No New Friends.” And while the sentiments of that song were to hype up loyalty and call out people who are not for you, the extreme nature of such a saying can eliminate the possibility and power of future connections.

Undoubtedly, a person’s network can yield limitless opportunities, and what better way to grow a network and add people to your squad than a conference, namely AFROTECH?

AFROTECH Conference is more than just a gathering of Black professionals attending sessions held by powerhouse speakers. AFROTECH is a version of the proverbial cookout, a community of like-minded individuals who can help you get to the next level and loosen up for the next turn-up.

Since 2016, AFROTECH Conference has been one of the premier spaces for Black technologists, entrepreneurs, and professionals to convene for professional development opportunities. But between the learning modules, attendees have sparked relationships that have carried them well beyond the scheduled conference dates.

All roads lead to Austin, TX, as tens of thousands of ticket holders convene to attend this year’s conference. Although figuring out the logistics of the agenda and creating a plan to navigate the exposition/job hall is likely top of mind, don’t forget to save space and have an open mind to meeting and connecting with some pretty amazing people.

Here are five ways you can tap into the power of community and find your tribe at AFROTECH Conference.

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Be Friendly

It may sound simple, but it’s an effective tool some people may not be as intentional about. Attending a large conference like AFROTECH can be intimidating at first glance. However, that tension can be broken by greeting people during check-in, complimenting someone’s outfit, or simply taking the step to make an initial introduction.

You could be sitting next to the person who is the missing variable to making your career dreams come true. There is no need to be over the top or inauthentic, but intentional friendliness works. Plus, it’s just a good look to consistently put out positive energy. Lead with that.

Conversation Starters Are A Cheat Code

Conference badges can be a thorn in the side of the dope outfit you put together, but it does serve as an easy way for someone to know your name and grab your attention to initiate a conversation. Wear your badge, fam.

Speaking of outfits, graphic tees and tops with catchy or inspirational slogans are an easy draw to make connections. A simple “That’s a dope shirt” or “Where’d you get that sweater?” could be the opening line to the beginning of a long-lasting friendship.

Find easy ways to connect with obvious moments and items that can ignite a conversation with someone.

It's All In The App

Did you know AFROTECH has a conference app? Yes, it holds pertinent information about the conference, but there is also an attendance list and chat function.

Use it. Don’t be weird, but use the app to see what people are talking about, engage in conversations about your experience, and directly interact with people you see walking around.

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Work Hard And Play Hard

It can’t be emphasized enough that attendees will learn and grow at every session during AFROTECH Conference. However, this is a space where the “work hard, play hard” mantra comes alive. From entertainment partners hosting social events to sponsored happy hours, all the way down to the official AFROTECH Music experience with Rick Ross and Jadakiss — there will be plenty of time to link up with the folks you’ve been walking past and sitting with all week.

Each of these moments offers the chance to get to know other ticket holders more personally. Raise a glass to new opportunities or let your friend introduce you to their friends. However it happens, leverage the power of the social side of AFROTECH to connect you with people you didn’t know when you arrived.

Don't Leave Emptied-Handed

In the age of smartphones, it is unlikely that people do not have a social media presence. It’s a professional conference, so be sure to get people’s LinkedIn information. But there could be value in connecting beyond that platform.

Instagram, TikTok, X, Facebook, or even the traditional business card could be great ways to stay in touch beyond the conference.

How else can you tag people in your AFROTECH Conference recap video if you don’t follow them on social media?

Nov. 1-5 will be game-changing, and you should not miss out on what will surely be the most epic conference of the year. Register now to be a part of AFROTECH Conference and grab your squad too because friends don’t let friends attend AFROTECH alone.

Once that registration is secure, map out your plan to grow your tribe with solid and authentic connections. These are some suggestions, but what tips do you have for meeting your tribe during AFROTECH?