Business Meeting

Professional conferences and networking events are great opportunities to swap ideas and strategies with your peers, expand your professional circle and refresh your sales and marketing game plan. But with more events every year – and packed, multi-track conference agendas – it can be hard to decide what to attend.

Before we decide to attend or sponsor an event, we determine which business problems we hope to solve. Does the conference theme line up with our business goals? Do we hope to streamline or improve a process? Showcase a solution? Raise brand awareness? Connect with other industry leaders? Identifying our goals helps prioritize our conference activities and networking. Once we decide to sponsor or attend a conference, here’s how we make the most of it while we’re there:

  1. Get to Know the Speakers and Attendees

Since in-person events are all about making good impressions and rewarding connections, we do some research on the speakers and attendees to identify who has resolved similar business problems… or may have problems we can help solve. After all – we’re all there to make connections and hit our business goals!

  1. Make Friends with the Conference Agenda

Conferences are usually jam-packed with events and activities. There’s no way to be at every session or meet every attendee and sponsor. We study the agenda to identify the people and events that align to our business goals… and then plan our days around the ones that do. And if we find ourselves somewhere that doesn’t, we excuse ourselves gracefully.

  1. Use Social Media – Before and During the Event

Before an event, social media lets us know about networking opportunities that aren’t part of the official agenda. It also helps us identify people we’d like to connect with while we’re there. During the event, we use the event hashtags and speaker profiles to share what we’re learning, and retweet/share what others are saying.

  1. Don’t Forget to Follow-Up!

Before we hop back into the daily grind, we connect with new contacts on LinkedIn, and send personal emails to thank people for their help. And we definitely look for feedback on sessions we may have run. Some colleagues have sent thank you’s to speakers, as well, if they were unable to connect at the event.

Got any tips of your own? Share them in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Thetaxhaven