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Conference Common Sense

Posted on January 21 2015 | Author: Jennifer Kalanda

Attending the right conferences can be an important element to the success, expansion or survival of your business. Once you’ve established your conference schedule however many, it’s important to make sure you show up with a plan and some common sense!

Get connected.
Many conferences have mailing lists that you can sign up for and receive updates about the upcoming event.  You can also follow their social media accounts.  Using their event related hashtags in your social media communications might even garner you a “retweet” or “like”, giving you exposure to others followers of the event (or even potentially new customers).  The event will use their electronic communications to promote things like, when registration opens, when early bird discounts expire or when they have booked an exciting keynote or sponsor.

Schedule meetings in advance.
Review the schedule in advance of the event and determine what panels, keynotes or workshops are going to be of greatest interest to you.  Armed with your event related agenda, try to schedule a few meetings with people in your network who are from the area or are attending the event as well.  Having a few key meetings already set up, will help ensure you are able to get the most out of your time away from the office.

Follow the dress code.
This seems pretty obvious, but you would be surprised!  It’s important for you to be comfortable and you have a long day ahead you, but following the event suggested dress code will ensure you present yourself as the well prepared professional you are.  If you are unable to determine the dress code, by the type of event, or pictures from the previous events, just be sure to dress for success!

Bring a lot of business cards.
Again, obvious but important enough it bares mentioning.  Make sure you have more than enough business cards with you at all times.   After you have had a conversation with someone and have swapped cards, take a few seconds and jot down some notes about your chat.  You don’t want to miss an opportunity when you are sorting through your contacts and following up.  You stand to meet a lot of people and have a lot of conversations to remember.

Network! Talk to people!
Understandably this, for some, is easier said than done.  But that’s why you are there; don’t miss out on the opportunity to make a valuable connection.  If you’re a little new to attending industry events, a good conversation starter to ask a fellow attendee is what brings them to that event.  This question is great because it encourages them to identify their goals and objectives to you right away.  Their answer should set you up to ask more relevant or engaging questions.  Another easy icebreaker is asking what they thought of the most recent speaker/panel/workshop.
Practice your elevator pitch, you are going to have to say it a lot — and if you haven’t already, read up on the latest industry news prior to the conference.

Position yourself as an expert.
Becoming and staying active in your industry could help you to develop a reputation as an expert to your industry peers and clients.  Those who are able to separate themselves as a leader could be asked to speak at events or write articles for related industry publications.  Your existing and new clients will feel good about doing business with someone who is celebrated by their industry.

Try to have fun.
Being in business should be rewarding and fun.  Industry conferences can add a layer of enjoyment to managing your company’s growth.  Conferences and networking events add a valuable social aspect to your business development and branding efforts.  Some events have fun activities such as group exercise, golf, or tours of the host city.  If time and budget permit, it’s worth taking an extra day at the beginning or end of the trip to explore a new city.  Attending an event and maximizing your meeting opportunities can be tiring, especially if you went to a great city and only saw the inside of a hotel!

But most importantly, follow up!
After the conference, send a quick message to those you connected with the most.  Don’t send out a generic email – make sure you personalize it.

Jennifer Kalanda
Marketing & Events Coordinator






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