Attending business conferences is a great way to educate yourself about the newest developments and predictions about the future of your industry. However, if you arrive unprepared, you might just be wasting your time and money. To help you, Lewis Howse, one of our most experienced event producers, has put together a list of things to consider before, during and after attending a business event. Read on to learn how to maximise your business conference experience…
What do you wish to achieve during the event? What do you want to learn and take back with you to the office? This is the time to sit down and take a look at the agenda, read through the topics, notice the key speakers, and be sure to write down the things you want to remember.
Who do you want to speak to at the conference? Whether they are key speakers, moderators or other delegates, think carefully about the people you wish to engage with. If you have specific questions, prepare them ahead of time to ensure you get the kind of answer you want.
What do you want to see at the conference? Are there multiple breakout sessions and, if so, which are most relevant to you and your goals and objectives (see #1).
While you may have access to presentations after the conference, they might not tell the whole story. Did a speaker mention something offhand that had a profound effect on you? Record it! You may forget that and regret it.
Though you are not necessarily, by attending a conference, looking for new employment opportunities, it is still advisable to work on your ‘pitch’, whether you are pitching yourself or your organisation. There are bound to be a lot of people you may wish to collaborate with in the future and you help your chances of doing so if you have your pitch down pat!
You may have found yourself in a busy period as you head towards the conference and, as such, you find yourself out of the loop. Do a little research on what’s currently happening in the industry by reading papers, articles and blog posts. This can help you engage in the discussions that will inevitably take place at the conference, and might score you some points with a future business partner.
You will likely be attending this conference for a number of reasons, from the conference programme to the opportunity to escape the office for a little while. A key reason for attending will be to mingle with your contemporaries, so do it! Network by approaching people or groups and joining the discussion.
Make sure to follow the action via social media channels, joining in yourself with posts, hashtags, follows, shares and likes! This could capture the attention of your fellow attendees, who in turn might just connect with you on LinkedIn.
It sounds so simple, but it is very important. While you are there to learn, represent your organisation and make connections, you should also have fun and enjoy yourself. Business and pleasure can most certainly mix and you should take advantage of all of the fun things the conference offers, such as field trips and drink receptions.
When you return to the office, make sure to tell your co-workers about your experience. What did you learn? Who did you meet? Was it a good, bad or so-so event? Would you like to attend the next one? Your team will want to know about what you did while you were away, so tell them!
Do you have something to add to the list? Let us know in the comments, and in any case: enjoy your next business conference!
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