Six Success tips for your next conference

Posted by Keith Jolie on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 Under: Strategies
Get there early

Conferences for most attendees are an opportunity to connect and network with people in the same field.  There is usually a fair amount of enthusiasm prior to the conference and in the first few days.  Just watch the hashtag for your next conference on twitter in the days leading up to the event - you'll often get more updates than you ever thought you'd need. 

Be sure to harness that excitement, energy and enthusiasm before it gets tapped out.  If your conference has the ability to set meetings with other attendees - make every effort to book those meetings early in the conference schedule and start working on booking those meetings as far in advance as possible. 
Stay Late (but not too late)

Conferences are social by nature, and a great opportunity to network, learn and create opportunities well after the last scheduled session of the day.  Plan on attending social events and if you've arrived with a group of people, do your best to meet as many people as you can that you don't know.  The people that you meet over a glass of wine or over a meal, may be your next best client, colleague or career move.
Maximize your time 

This really comes down to understanding what your goals are for the conference.  If you have a clear understanding of what you need/want to accomplish at the conference, look for ways to maximize that effort.  At two conferences I've attended recently, there were "speed dating sessions" which were an opportunity to meet as many as 40 new people within your field in an hour.  I met as many people in that one hour as I might have met in a week or more through regular outreach.

Be open to new ideas

Everyone has ideas about who or what you want to accomplish, but sometimes you find surprising business opportunities when you least expect it.   If there is a vendor or exhibitor area, take the opportunity to speak to the exhibitors - they possess a wealth of knowledge in terms of their contacts in the industry that you belong to and the trends that they see (either from their customers or their competition).  Don't walk through the exhibits with your head down - get out there and learn.

Take Notes

Every time you meet someone new - take notes.  Either on the back of their business card or on your phone or tablet.  When you get back to the office, you'll be glad to have a reminder of where you met, what you talked about and what follow up (if necessary) you need to do.
Follow up

Don't forget to follow up quickly - send a quick thank you note, email or linkedIN message for instance.  But more importantly - call your new contacts, say hi and keep the conversation going while it's still fresh. 

Oh yea... and have fun!  It's not an official tip - but trust me, you'll meet more people and be more productive if you make sure you look and act like someone worth talking to.

ps - if you need someone to speak at your next conference - give me a call.

By Keith Jolie

In : Strategies 

Tags: conferences  sales  business development  marketing  networking  fun 
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