This time of year, is conference season in our industry. Every industry will have a ‘season’ where there are multiple conferences that are relevant to your business, but how do you choose which to attend and plan what to do when you get there? Having just attended my first conference for this ‘season’ I thought I’d share my top tips for attending conferences.
Which ones to attend
Every conference has its benefits and reasons why you should potentially attend, but don’t forget that every conference you attend comes with a cost in addition to the cost of the conference and the travel / accommodation to get there. Attending a conference is also time taken out of your business so make sure you see the value in doing so. While there are many benefits to attending conferences, like being at the forefront of newly released technology, learning new skills and increasing your business network, it is time out of your business so choose wisely.
Like everything planning is the key. Most conferences have an agenda that is released several weeks before the conference. Review this and plan which sessions are going to benefit you the most and what you are most interested in. Not every session or workshop is relevant to you so don’t be afraid to miss a session and speak to exhibitors during that session if it is going to be of more benefit. Additionally, don’t forget to register for any sessions that require booking. Sometimes numbers are limited so you don’t want to get there and be disappointed.
If you have access to the list of attendees, speakers and exhibitors prior to the conference then make a list of those you want to connect with prior to the start of the conference and don’t forget to take plenty of business cards. Social media is a great way to connect with those people and to make sure they know who you are before getting there and is an easy way to stay in touch afterwards. Given that you’re likely to meet many potential new customers / connections make sure you’ve got your elevator pitch down pact, so they know exactly who you are and what you do.
What about me?
Don’t forget about looking after yourself. Conferences are draining, you always have to be ‘on’ so don’t forget to take some well-deserved time for you. Go for a walk, to the gym or have a rest in your room. While the thought of having a big night out can be appealing it can make for a wasted day the following day. Additionally if you have an out of office message on your emails then there is no reason for distraction or unhappy customers.
After the Conference
A great way to stay front of mind with those that you want to have an ongoing relationship with is to take photos and post on social media. Alternatively follow up with an email or phone call. Go through all the notes you made at conference and make an action list of what you’re going to achieve and a time frame in which to achieve it. Another great way to ensure this is to go through with the team back at the office all that you learnt. That way they are getting some of the benefit of the conference without attending and you’re communicating those things that you think are important for your business.
Conferences are a great way for small and medium business to increase their profile, expand their network and learn new skills and strategies all at the same time. A little bit of planning can take your next conference from average and exhausting to amazing and hugely beneficial.
Let us help you by putting into practice the valuable knowledge learnt attending conferences. 3rd Arm Admin offer a complete bookkeeping service so for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the team on 04 2329199.