Make the Most of Your Conference Experience
Attending industry conferences can be a Catch 22. On one hand, these events offer unique opportunities to connect with prospective clients, business partners and industry leaders, but on the other hand, they can take valuable time away from the action taking place within your office. Because of that, it’s absolutely essential to make the most out of your time spent at industry conferences and events. These five tips can help you do just that.
- Plan Ahead: Get to know the conference agenda and what events guests are slated to attend. Preparing ahead of time will help you plan your schedule to know which sessions are available and best for you, and allow you to build time to connect with important contacts while there.
- Stand out from the crowd: Most industry events will feature hundreds and thousands of exhibitors so it’s important to optimize your visibility before and while you attend. If potential clients or business partners can’t see you, then what’s the point of you being there? Having professional and approachable representatives at your booth, along with a compelling call-to-action can advance your visibility to the next level.
- Network Effectively: Not every conference or event will offer you optimal networking opportunities, but more than likely, each one will present a chance to meet some important figures in your industry. If you connect with the right people, those partnerships can be invaluable in helping you accomplish your business goals.
- Attend the right Seminars and Sessions: While at these industry events, it’s important to take advantage of the sessions available to you. But even more importantly, you must choose the sessions that are right for you. Think about the topics that interest you, as well as ones that will provide you the most value. Don’t be afraid to explore sessions outside of your comfort zone; you never know what key piece of information you might learn.
- Post-Conference Follow-Up: One of the best practices you can implement when attending conferences is establishing a follow-up protocol. The purpose of you attending these events is to network with potential clients or franchisees, so if you don’t reconnect once you return home, you risk losing that lead. A small acknowledgement of your meeting the person, even a reference to something you talked about, can go a long way in establishing a relationship. But keep in mind, the week following a conference is very busy for anyone who attended, so be respectful of their time and plan your connection accordingly.
A couple of other important things to keep in mind when attending industry events is to always wear comfortable shoes, bring plenty of business cards (with white backsides for personalization) and consult with your franchise or marketing agency beforehand. You only get one chance to make a great first impression — you can never be too prepared.