Believe it or not, our Live & Learn event is a little more than a month away. The value of attending our event cannot be overstated. In fact, attending networks and tradeshows is the single most effective way to market your business and network with the like-minded individuals. In most cases, major events only occur annually. Meaning you only get one chance a year to make an impact. So, how can you make the most out of your next conference? Here are some tips.
1. Locate Attendee List
Most events have an exhibitor or attendee list posted online. At the very least, you should be able to locate any keynote speakers or presenters. Be sure to connect with these individuals on LinkedIn and send an introductory email when possible.
2. Register Early
Depending on size, event registration can be a nightmare. Spending more than an hour in the registration line is not an uncommon thing. It is, however, avoidable. Be sure to take advantage of online registration or any express offerings that are available to you so that you can spend your time adding value to your organization instead of anxiously waiting in line.
3. Reach Out to Other Attendees
Send out introductory emails to as many people attending your event as possible. Not only does this provide a point of reference for both parties, it also shows that you’re interested and organized.
4. Create a Roadmap
Large conferences can be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan. Find the agenda or expo floor map online and create a map of who you want to talk to. Bring it to the event and check it off as you go. This will help you manage your time and ensure you connect with everyone on your list. For multi-day conferences, create a roadmap for each day. Once you’ve gone through the list, take advantage of the extra time to network freely.
5. Bring Business Cards and/or Print Material
Bring more cards than you think you’ll need. If you’re attending a multi-day conference, you can leave spare cards in your hotel for the following days. Having cards on hand makes it easier to connect with others. If you want to go the extra mile, brand a 4×6 postcard showcasing your product(s) and services. This will not only provide additional information to your connections but will also create brand awareness.
6. Utilize the Linkedin Mobile App
Often times you’ll connect with someone who has either run out of business cards or simply never brought them to begin with. Sure, you can pass off your card and hope to get a call. But do you really want to rely on someone else’s follow up? Instead, open your LinkedIn App and ask to send them a connection request.
7. Stay Organized
If you’ve followed these recommendations, you’ll be sure to have a stack of business cards in your rolodex. Organize them by company, job title, region. Pick an organization scheme that aligns with your goal(s).
8. Follow Up
Outside of making connections, the second biggest benefit of attending any conference is the ability to reference it. It is important to follow up with who you met while the event details are still fresh in their minds. Send a follow up note as soon as you can so that you stay atop their radar. If possible, briefly recap your conversation and request a meeting.
In closing, they key to a successful conference lies in preparation. Be sure to write down your goals. Know exactly what you want to get out of your conference and use these tips to create a game plan around it.