Events can be an important part of your organization’s success. Whether it’s a two-day conference, a consumer tradeshow or a lunch-n-learn seminar, there are multiple takeaways that come from attending these events.
On the surface, justifying attendance can be difficult when you consider the number of hours you or your associates will be away from your office; but if you plan and prepare properly, the benefits of stepping away from your desk and attending a convention far outweigh the lost production hours.
Over the next few articles, we’re going to provide you with a series of tips to get you through your next conference experience and get the best results possible for you and your business. Maximizing benefit requires careful planning for each step of the event – pre, during and post.
Learning events provide you with numerous opportunities, whether you are new to the circuit or a seasoned veteran.
If this is your first show, you are going to be buzzing around trying to soak in as much as possible, whereas the well-travelled delegate will have a more specific agenda in mind. Both parties, however, need some preparation and a battle plan.
Getting ready for a conference to ensure you get the most out of your event is key. Going into the show with no prep will leave you swimming and panicked.
A big key is to prepare / plan for the event 30 to 60 days in advance. Here is what you want to consider
I. Goals, People and Meetings
Goals - Ask yourself: Why are you going to this event? What do you want to achieve? Are you seeking media exposure, leads, investors, education or inspiration? No matter the purpose, keep a focus on which aspects you want to get the most out of and put all of your planning toward those elements.
People - Define and prioritize the persona of target(s) for your business in this event and make a list of who you want to reach. Take advantage of the resources available such as exhibitor lists and explore which companies are sending delegates that you will want to connect with.
Set Meetings - Get those connections locked in for face time using traditional means. Resources supplied by the event organizers may include an app, but they aren’t great for conversation. Journalists won’t use these either. Instead, stick to emails when possible to schedule meetings and follow ups.
II. Keep track of side events
Virtually every conference you attend will have breakout sessions or networking opportunities, and most of these will have limited capacities. As such, it’s integral to get signed up for any sessions you want to attend right away. The last thing you would want is to be shut out of a popular program. Keep your ear to the ground, as well, for informal events such as drinks following close-down for the day. These plans are often made over social media or conference message boards, so get familiar with the outlets used.
III. Find and participate in group chats (in advance or at event)
Presenting companies may provide a forum such as a Facebook or LinkedIn group for attendees to use for networking, while exhibitors and seminar leaders may use social media to promote their presence. These are great tools to establish relationships, meet your fellow delegates and focus on certain topics.
Continue reading our other articles in this series:
If you’d like help strategizing for your next event, feel free to contact Paul Provost at 204.474.1654 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.