So you’ve decided to attend a conference and your company has agreed to send you… now what? We’ve attended, hosted and been a vendor at far too many conferences to count and we’ve come up with a few quick ways for you to have a successful conference gaining leads and networking your way through the week(end).
Prepping for your conference is as important as attending.
- Schedule brief meetings. After you’ve registered and figured out what your days at the conference will look like, try to figure out who else is going in your personal or extended network and schedule brief chats to catch up during coffee/lunch breaks so you aren't lost in trying to find someone to talk with. This can also help with confidence, networking and sharing information about the conference. After all, two minds are greater than one.
- Review the schedule. Before attending the event review the schedule and make a game plan so you can be tactical with your time, give yourself scheduled downtime to keep up with work emails or do some research on vendors or companies you’ve connected with at the conference.
- Review the sponsors and vendors. Sponsors and vendors might be presenting or might engage their booth-goers with informative chit-chat. Instead of trying to spend two minutes with every vendor there, do 10 minutes of prep work and identify the vendors that align most with your needs and have quality visits them.
- Bring your accessories. Make sure to take all of the accessories you need to make your time as productive as possible, such as chargers, cell phone, laptop, etc.
- Wear comfortable shoes! You will be doing a lot of walking around for multiple days, be smart with footwear.
- Bring your business cards. This should be a no-brainer, but I’ve seen many folks forget this important accessory. Between the great giveaways and folks you meet, you’re there to expand your knowledge and network and a business card is the easiest, quickest way to exchange information.
- Organize your contacts. After the conference, make sure to schedule time on your personal calendar to debrief and download all of the contacts and information you’ve collected from the conference, so you don't lose all the great stuff gained while you were there.