From HLTH to Money 20/20 and various news outlet-run events like WSJ Tech Live and TechCrunch Disrupt, ‘tis the season for professionals to prepare for travel to hub locations like Las Vegas, Orlando, or Washington, D.C. During this busy time of year, it’s important to be reminded of the best practices for conference attendance to ensure that your investment, often a significant one, is well worth it.
- Define Your Objectives: Before securing your ticket or booking your travel, it’s crucial to ask yourself: What’s my objective for attending this conference? Is it to support sales funnel activity, promote brand presence, or are you a speaker at the event to espouse thought leadership? Identifying your objectives helps you determine the level of investment required and what you should be doing while there.
- Networking Is Key: Networking is a central objective for any conference. Reach out to other attendees ahead of time to set up on-site meetings. A pro tip is to promote your attendance on LinkedIn to facilitate connections within your network.
- Speaking at the Event: If you’re a speaker, thorough preparation is essential. Follow the organizers’ guidance, hold pre-event calls with fellow panelists, and make your presentation relatable and engaging. After your session, make yourself available for questions and networking.
- Business Cards and LinkedIn: Ensure you have an ample supply of business cards and think about LinkedIn as your rolodex—connect with people you meet at the conference on the platform. Additionally, the LinkedIn app provides a QR code and scanner so you can easily share and search profiles with new connections.
- Share Contacts with your Marketing Department: After the event, share the connections you made with your marketing function so that they can continue to nurture the relationship through campaign outreach.
- Perfect Your Elevator Pitch: Use the travel time to solidify your elevator pitch. Craft a concise introduction that explains who you are, what your company does, what you’re promoting, and concludes with a call to action.
- Comfort is Key: Conference venues tend to be big and cold, so bring a sweater or jacket and wear comfortable shoes to navigate the event without fashion trouble.
- Late-Night Networking: Conferences don’t stop when the sessions end. Many networking opportunities extend into the night and, although you might be tired from the day, these late-night events are where valuable connections often form.
- Take Notes: Jot down notes throughout the day or when you return to your hotel. Days can blur together, especially if they conclude with socializing, so keeping a record of key moments is essential.
Conferences aren’t for the faint of heart, but they exist for a reason. They offer immense value to professionals seeking to boost their visibility, connect with new prospects, and expand their networks. By defining your goals, investing wisely, and mastering the art of networking and preparation, you can make the most out of conference season and ensure that your investment yields fruitful returns. So, get out there, make connections, and seize the opportunities that conferences offer!