Once you get to the conference, your work (and fun), is only the beginning! There are several things you need to do in order for the conference to be successful and for you to get the most out of your conference experience.
If you have a booth, be sure to have samples or a demonstration so that other attendees can interact with your both. This a great way to entice people to stop at your booth and start a conversation. Pass out your marketing materials, business cards, and encourage others to give you their information as well so that you can later follow-up with them. If you are only attending and walking around, do not be afraid to kick-start conversations with other attendees. Have your “elevator speech” ready about your company, your role with the company, and a little information about yourself. Be prepared to pass out business cards, collect business cards, and gather potential leads for your company. Really start to engage with the attendees and make your presence known. Networking is the key to building long-lasting business relationships and can open the door to sales leads.
Jot down notes of everything you’d like to remember: a specific conversation you had, something you found interesting, something you learned, ways you think you can personally improve for your next conference, etc. Write down any takeaways for the event, whether positive or negative. It may be ideal to also write a recap of your day when things have settled down and you are in your room for the night. It’s helpful to have this information to review later and possibly turn into content that you can share on your LinkedIn or for your company to share as well.
Attend Workshops & Presentations
If the conference is offering workshops or presentations, attend the ones that you feel as if you could benefit from the most or are relevant to your role and industry. These sessions usually have a lot to offer such as skill-building sessions, getting information on industry trends and the latest tools/technology used, and also learning about experiences that successful business leaders have had. Taking notes at these sessions can supply you with educational content that you can take back and share with your company. If you have the opportunity, connect with the speaker or leader of the workshop after the event. Networking with these individuals provides you the chance to ask questions, introduce yourself, and open the door to building business relationships.
Content. Content. Content.
While at the conference, take many photos of yourself, any co-worker that is attending with you, the company booth, and anyone you connect with (if they have given you consent to take/post photos of them). Photos and short videos that you take at the conference give so much content for your company to share on social media, blog posts, future conference campaigns, etc. Try to create as much content as you can while at the event. You can NEVER have too much content.
Attend Social Events
Often, conferences will have social events as part of the agenda. This may be a dinner for the attendees, a luncheon, or a similar event. Attend as many of these events as you can. This boosts your chances for networking and marketing. If someone invites you out for coffee, lunch, etc., GO! Even if they are trying to sell YOU something, it’s a great way to gain leads and market your company. However, if you feel as if these events are not going to be a productive use of your time or somehow do not align with your conference goals, then use these times for meetings that you set up with prospects that are also not attending the events.
Attend Scheduled Meetings
If you set up appointments with anyone pre-conference, be sure to follow through, attend the appointment, and use those opportunities wisely. Scheduled appointments are a great one-on-one session to address their needs, pains, and how you can help with both. Aside from being a fantastic opportunity to sell, it’s a great networking opportunity as well. Gather information such as business cards, phone numbers, email address, and LinkedIn accounts, so that you can later follow up with them.
Want to learn more? Check out our podcast Episode where we give you the 411 on conferences.
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