14 Apr 2016 / by Maya Roeland / in BLOG
10 USEFUL TIPS FOR ATTENDING A CONFERENCE
Finally, you have it! Your ticket to a Professional Conference! This is your chance to discover the latest trends and insights in your niche, and learn from the biggest names across the globe. You are ready to hear about leading ideas and innovations, and you want to know what is new in the market and what your peers or competitors are doing.
You look into the program – Wow! There are so many events, keynotes, presentations, demonstrations and masterclasses! So much to do. So much to participate in. How do you find your way through this overwhelming load of information, activities, and opportunities?
Take a deep breath. It’s all doable! Here is are ten things that will help you get the most out of your visit to a conference. Follow these tips for attending a conference to stay focused and you will head home feeling invigorated instead of exhausted.
Ready? Set? Go!
1. SET YOURSELF UP BEFORE YOU EVEN GET THERE
Usually this begins in the morning. Plan how you are going to get to the conference venue, by public transport or by car, where you will park, how much time you’ll need on the road. Decide on what you are going to wear, make sure it is comfortable enough for long days sitting in classes but nice enough to meet your peers and be introduced to the experts and social media influencers. Do that. Everything counts. Make sure you take your phone, tablet, and other devices are charged and ready to go.
2. HAVE BUSINESS CARDS
It’s not cool to not have business cards. Recently, it has become a trend to not carry business cards, and this is a big mistake. If you don’t make it easy for people to contact you, no one will.
If you plan on attending an event, make sure you bring plenty of cards.
3. COME UP WITH AN ELEVATOR PITCH
Having business cards alone doesn’t mean you’re ready to attend a conference. Before you start socializing, you have to come up with an elevator pitch.
This elevator pitch should consist of a few things:
1. Your name
2. What you do
3. Why you are here
In addition to those three elements, keep your pitch shorter than 30 seconds, and make sure it is relevant to the event.
Here is an example:
Hi, my name is Maya Roeland. I am a founder of an Online Marketing Agency D2D Digital. We help small businesses to build and grow their online presence with winning social strategies and engaging content development.
4. EXAMINE THE PROGRAM THOROUGHLY
Any program has a lot to offer. You can find the complete schedule on the official website of an event. All days are filled with scheduled activities such as presentations, seminar or masterclasses! You’ll also want to set time aside for meetings and networking as well.
5. NETWORKING ASSIGNMENTS
Don’t waste your time getting to know a large group of people. Concentrate on meeting high quality individuals with whom you can build valuable relationships.
- Speakers – Find out who they are, what was their work experience, and think of what you can learn from them. Explore their social media profiles. Connect with them to maximize your conference experience.
- Conference organizers – meeting the conference organizer is a wise thing to do. No one really gives them the time of day, but you should. Organizers can get you into future conferences for free, and they know where the cool private after-parties are.
- Competition – your competitors don’t have to be your enemies. If you build a relationship with them, they can potentially refer customers to you.
6. TAKE A TIME OUT
You don’t have to do everything listed on the schedule. And if you want to take a break to digest the experience — honor that. Feel free to say no and go for what feels right for that moment. Find a quiet spot to relax, make a call to your loved one, check your email or social accounts, or do any and all of the above. That is a cool way to reboot and to be ready to join the next session!
7. SHARE WHAT YOU SEE AND LEARN ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Take many notes and photos. Share them with your friends, followers, and colleagues. It’s a good way to engage with your audience, inform your co-workers and connect with other conference attendees. A post on Facebook, a photo on Instagram or a video on Periscope will let your creativity grow. Most events have specific hashtags. This way you can easily find relevant content.
8. WORK HARD – PLAY HARD
Don’t forget that you are here not only to learn, but to have fun as well. These topics and our work is certainly fun, so take your time to eat lunch or grab a coffee. This is a great way to meet new people and socialize with your peers. Make sure you attend networking lunches and cocktails at the end of each day too.
9. REMEMBER WHY YOU’RE HERE
You’re here to learn, network, connect, have fun, enjoy, share, contribute, and so much more. And remember your “WHY”. Why do what you do? Who you do it for? The people and reasons you’re here for, such as your team, your business, your clients, your family, your brand, and yourself. Connect to that “why” and it will give you an extra energy boost.
10. FOLLOW UP
At this point, the conference is over, right? Technically, it is, but for you, it isn’t. You have to follow up with every person you met at the event.
If you don’t, you’ll never end up building any real relationships. Meeting someone is great, but if you don’t get to know the people you meet, you won’t gain value from the conference.
Have a happy time at your conference!