There are all sorts of conferences and you may attend for different reasons but you need to prioritise what you want to get out of an event in order to make the most of it.
For me it’s usually about the people and maximising the time. I try to meet all the people I chat to remotely throughout the year. Here’s how I go about it.
1. Wear comfortable shoes and make sure that you look like your social media photo so you’re easy to spot. For me this means an up to date, professional photo online and remembering to wear contact lenses, hair down, and usually a branded shirt at the event.
2. First plan any talks you want to see – If speakers are unpaid the talks are often just selling a product rather than real value to you so leave.
3. Next identify any exhibitors you want to catch up with or see new products. This is the time to meet the people. If necessary you can arrange a demo when you get back to the office. Worth having a separate email when booking to separate the more spammy follow ups. If you don’t want a follow up don’t agree to have your badge scanned or hand over your details (it saves their time too)
4. Book when and where you’re going to meet other business friends.
5. Carry plenty of business cards unless you prefer to keep your contacts on Linked In. (Whilst sales folks often have their contact details on Linked In many people don’t due to the volume of unsolicited calls. Having a Linked In profile doesn’t mean that people log into the app; even my retired parents have profiles for some unknown reason 🤷🏻♀️)
6. Associated social events are an added bonus. Usually great for dancing but too loud for proper networking (or is it just my age?).
7. Transfer any items to your to do list on the train home so they might actually get done.
8. Book the next day as a quiet day for an introvert crash and/or to follow up on everybody that you met. Add new contacts to your CRM and connect on social media