Make the Most of Conference Going

I was especially happy to discover today’s fortune in a recent cookie, “You are always welcome in any gathering.” Hooray! We’re gathering again! In fact, industry conferences and tradeshows have made a huge comeback since the early days of Covid. Attendees have a great opportunity to learn new things, network with other professionals, and stay up-to-date on the latest trends in their industries. But how can you make sure you get the most out of your next conference? Consider these tips:

  1. Set clear goals. What do you hope to achieve by attending the conference? Do you want to learn about a new technology, meet potential clients, or find new collaborators? Once you know your goals, you can tailor your activities accordingly.  Additionally, before you arrive on the scene,be sure to take some time to research the speakers, workshops, and exhibits. This will help you make the most of your time and ensure that you’re attending sessions that are relevant to your interests.
  2. Prepare your conference toolkit. Download the conference app… have plenty of business cards at the ready… bring a notebook and pen to take notes… wear your professional nametag. These important tools will help you to optimize your experience, remember people you meet, document key points from the sessions, and follow up with new contacts and speakers later.
  3. Network!  Network!  Network!  I believe the best, most valuable thing about conferences is the opportunity to connect with other professionals. Arrive early and stay late so you have more time to explore the exhibits, network with other attendees, and interact with the speakers. Be sure to introduce yourself to people you meet, learn about them and their background, ask how you can be helpful to them.  Don’t forget to exchange contact information. You never know where a new connection might lead. Whatever the case, be prepared to give as well as receive. Don’t just focus on promoting yourself and your business. Be genuinely interested in what other people have to say and offer to help them in any way you can.
  4. Be positive, enthusiastic and curious. This will make you more approachable and memorable to other attendees.  Be prepared to ask questions of people you meet and of speakers/panelists during the presentations and breakout sessions. You upbeat disposition and inquisitive nature will ensure you learn more about the topics being discussed and to get the attention of other attendees.
  5. Follow up after the conference. After the conference, be sure to follow up with the people you meet. This could involve sending them an email, connecting with them on LinkedIn, or inviting them to coffee.

By following these tips, you can make the most of your next conference and build relationships that will benefit you for years to come.

Happy Networking!

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