6 Ways to Get the Most from Conferences

Industry conferences are a great place to learn new things and stay on top of your game. They help you get out of the day-to-day grind and expand your viewpoint. Attending a conference isn’t cheap, so you want to make sure your getting the biggest bang for your buck. And there’s lots more than workshop sessions that make conferences worth going to. Here are 6 ways to make the most of your next conference experience.

  • Decide ahead of time what your goals are. Do you want to meet specific attendees you know will be there? Do you want to meet a particular sponsor or exhibitor? Are you looking for product feedback? Go in with a clearly-defined agenda.
  • Focus on giving, not just receiving. People like to help those who help others. If you make it a point to ask others what they’re looking for and what they hope to accomplish, people will be open to helping you. Facilitate connections, offer feedback, and seek out other ways to help.
  • Connect with other conference-goers on social media. Most conferences will have a hashtag that attendees can use to identify their conference-related posts and comments. You can easily find others who share your interests by scanning these in your favorite social platform.
  • Make true connections. Too many people go to conferences with the goal of handing out as many business cards as possible. But no one cares about your card, and chances are they will meet a dozen others who do what you do. If you want someone to read a follow up email or take your call after you get home, take time to have a genuine conversation with the person.
  • In between sessions and after the day’s events, stay involved (don’t hide in your room). Whether you hang out at the coffee station, hit the hotel gym, or relax at the bar, you can keep the networking going even in-between or after the official events are over. Some of the best conversations happen in a more relaxed atmosphere.
  • Follow up after the conference. Send a nice-to-meet you email with details of your conversation, or schedule a phone call to talk more specifically about something you mentioned while at the conference. If you promised to make introductions or send information, be sure to do it. Even if you aren’t don’t see an immediate way for someone to benefit you, it’s a good idea to follow up — it keeps the connection warm in case you need to contact him or her in the future.

Conferences can be the best thing you’ll spend your money on all year. Set some goals, get out of your comfort zone, and get to work to make your next conference count.

Published on June 2nd, 2015 in Blog

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