Ah, the business conference. You can expect a lot of great swag and to meet tons of new people, but how do you make the most out your time and money? If you want to be sure you gain some new skills, learn about up and coming industry trends and make some new professional connections, we’ve got your back with our tried and true tips for how to do a business conference right.
6 Tips to Get the Most Out of a Business Conference
Don’t forget your business cards
Are your business cards up to date? Do you have business cards? Make sure all of your information is correct and get some printed before heading to your next business conference. You don’t want to show up empty handed and business cards are the easiest and most professional way to exchange contact information with new connections.
Take a good look at the agenda
Business conferences can be incredibly hectic and you can get easily sidetracked without a plan in place. Before you go, set a goal for what you’d like to learn and create a plan tailored to that goal. What do you wish to achieve from the event? What are some of the topics you’re interested in learning about?
Choose the right sessions
Typically, the standard business conference will have lots of sessions to choose from. Decide which keynote speakers and breakout sessions you’d like to attend and know where they’re located and at what time. Also, make sure you allow for some down time and for social events. It’s all about using your time wisely and getting the most out of what’s happening.
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Make a meet-up plan prior to the business conference
Who do you want to meet up with while you’re there? There’s no better time to network with your peers, touch base with customers and connect with new prospects than at a business conference. But don’t count on just running into people there - instead, reach out ahead of time to let them know you’ll be attending and schedule a specific time and place to meet. Most conferences have a hashtag set up for social media or a Facebook event page and ou can use those to keep track of the people you’d like to meet.
Don’t forget what you learn
There’s a lot to take in when you’re attending back-to-back sessions, meeting up with people and listening to all those inspiring speakers. Chances are, you probably won’t remember it all. No matter your note-taking format of choice, at the end of every meeting or session, write down five key takeaways and any follow-up you want to do on the topic. When you’re going through your notes later, it will help to jog your memory and give you some easy and specific to-dos when you’re back in the office.
While you’re at the business conference, you’re collecting new business cards, Twitter followers and a bit of information overload. Afterward, it’s time to do something with them. New prospects? Schedule a phone call or face-to-face meeting to listen to their frustrations and demonstrate how you and your services can resolve those issues. At least a week after you’re back from the business conference, send a personal follow-up to everyone and let them know you enjoyed meeting them. Send a handwritten note, email or LinkedIn request while the conference is still fresh in everyone’s minds and add a personal message to each one when possible. It’s important to carry the momentum from a great conversation into actual conversion as a client.
If done the right way, attending conferences may be one of the best things you can do for your career. Use these tips to maximize your time and energy at your next business conference.
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References: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/conference-tips, http://www.elisabethvandelden.com/blog/conference-tips/, https://www.business.com/articles/4-tips-for-getting-the-most-out-of-a-conference/, https://www.shankman.com/best-ways-to-attend-conference/, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235376, https://business.tutsplus.com/articles/how-to-make-the-most-out-of-a-conference-or-expo--fsw-29149, https://marketingland.com/getting-the-most-out-of-your-conference-experience-167258, https://www.themuse.com/advice/10-ways-to-make-the-most-out-of-a-conference