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5 Tips for Conference Attendees: Get the Most Out of Your Next Event

Posted by Adam Boggess on 11/3/16 10:50 AM

How do you approach an event? If you do it the right way, you will pick up new skills, learn about trends in your field, and meet new and valuable contacts. If you don’t do it the right way, you could find yourself cutting the long boring days in Orlando short (and hop on Space Mountain before your flight home). Quick note – nothing is wrong with Orlando; it’s a wonderful place.

1. Do your homework before you go

kid Before you leave for the event, make sure to review the agenda and highlight, yes highlight, the sessions or speakers that interest you. Try and build a schedule. If you are lucky, the event will have a mobile app that will have all of the information on it, such as the ability the build your own schedule, exhibitor information, speaker information, the ability to communicate with other attendees, etc. You can sync this schedule with your phone so that you never miss a session you want to see. Take a look at the expo floor plan as well. Make note of exhibiting vendors your company currently works with or may want to work with in the future. Coming back from a show with information on tools and services not only reinforces the value of your attendance but it is also beneficial to your company.

2. Hi, I’m uhh

Participate in everything you can. Even those events during the evening. Happy hours and galas are designed for attendees to unwind, but maintain and continue networking. Go to these. Yes, free drinks and bacon-wrapped scallops are a huge win, but having a casual yet meaningful conversation with a group of your colleagues is where the true win is. Be smart and safe at these events; it’s easy for these things to get out of control, so always stay professional.

 

3. I’ll have another please

Participate in everything you can. drinkEven those events during the evening. Happy hours and galas are designed for attendees to unwind, but maintain and continue networking. Go to these. Yes, free drinks and bacon-wrapped scallops are a huge win, but having a casual yet meaningful conversation with a group of your colleagues is where the true win is. Be smart and safe at these events; it’s easy for these things to get out of control, so always stay professional.

4. Stay in it for the long haul

“Sacrifice style for comfort you say? That’s nuts!” No, what’s nuts is not being able to attend day 2 and 3 because you thought your wedding shoes from 10 years ago were the best move or that the 5 inch pumps would be great for your ankles. Locate your comfortable shoes and bring a snack or two and fight off hunger. Most of these events will have coffee stations and snacks here and there, but these can be long days and you never know when that KIND bar might be the only thing keeping you from eating your notepad in a session. Some of these events are at extremely large venues and having comfortable shoes is a step in the right direction (see what I did there?). Be comfortable!

5. Hey Shirley, remember me?

When you get back to your office, phone-callremember to connect with the people you met at the event. Do not wait; don’t let those interactions go cold. Pass along any information that might be valuable to your team, your boss or even other departments. Try and find time on your boss’ calendar to brief him or her on what you learned and what can help the organization. If you’re the boss: 1. Look at you! 2. Find some time on your team’s calendar to brief them on what you learned and introduce them to new tools or services that might help their day-to-day.

 

These are just 5 tips and we all know there are more, but these 5 will prepare you for the next conference you attend. What did we forget? We’d love to know how you stay sharp as an event attendee. As always, the best thing to do with tips is to pass them along to your colleagues that have Orlando on their calendar in the coming months.

Topics: General


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