Are attending conferences and tradeshows a large part of your business/job? If so, learning the nuances to get the most out of conferences can be difficult. Whether you are new to the conference scene or are an experienced participant and attendee, understanding how to effectively use your time can save you valuable resources.
Here are a few quick tips to get the most out of a conference:
1. Do Your Homework
Many conferences will provide a map and layout of the conference beforehand in some sort of program. Some conferences are notorious for hosting thousands of attendees with hundreds of vendors and participants. Looking at a map ahead of time can save you precious minutes that would have otherwise been spent getting lost in the masses. If you are able to look up the companies and organizations that will be there ahead of time, you can better prepare–especially if you are looking to do business. There’s nothing worse than people asking , “So what do you do?” when you are looking for leads. Completing your homework prior to the conference frees up valuable time so that you can go conquer your conference objectives.
2. Make Yourself Memorable
In a convention style conference, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the crowd. Make sure to differentiate yourself somehow. Whether it’s through unique signage, samples and swag, or even interesting activities, your company is only of value so long as people remember who you are. Also, some conferences offer special networking opportunities and luncheons outside of a booth-style arena. Make sure to take advantage of these features to better connect with other professionals.
3. Save Time to Explore
After creating a game plan, penciling time to explore can be extremely beneficial. This can give you time to look at what businesses in a similar industry are doing and can also give you time to interact with prospective clients or business partners. Additionally, it’s good to take notes about what successful companies are doing at conferences. Are there characteristics you can model your business after? Saving time to explore can also give your business the opportunity to interact with other conference attendees in a lower stress situation. Plus, you never know what sorts of helpful surprises you might run into. Sometimes the best opportunities come about when they are unplanned.
4. Sponsor an Event
A great way to differentiate yourself in a massive industry conference is to sponsor an activity or event. Not only does this raise awareness of your company, but it also gives you the opportunity to have your employees have more valuable face time with conference attendees outside of the conference booth setting.
Whether you are an experienced conference veteran or a new attendee, making sure that you use your conference time effectively can make the experience much more enjoyable. With these tips, you can be on your way to conquering your next conference!