I’ve been to a LOT of conferences recently. They tend to not be cheap, and even if you manage to get in for free, or paid by your company, you’re still dedicating a chunk of time and effort to learning and networking. So make the most of it! Here’s how to get the most from a conference:
Jump Ahead to a Specific Section:
Dress the Part
The goal is to meet with as many people as possible. Don’t give off a bad first impression by dressing like a slop. Put a little extra effort into getting ready on a day you know you’ll be meeting lots of potential business connections!
Most conferences have some sort of online component, especially the ones I go to that tend to focus on the idea of digital marketing.
As such, you want to make sure that you’re putting your best digital foot forward. A couple things to consider:
Follow the Hashtag
Most socially-savvy conferences will have a hashtag you can follow to connect with conference-goers. Connect with people on that hashtag and make sure that you:
Use a tool like Pablo by Buffer to make tweets more pretty, and more importantly, stand out in what’s sure to be a crowded conversation.
Make a Twitter List
Another no-brainer way to connect with conference attendees is to create a Twitter List and add people using the conference hashtag. They’ll be appreciative of being noticed!
Bring Business Cards
Now to talk about connecting offline. Make sure that you bring a large amount of business cards. People are going to be meeting a lot of people and collecting a lot of business cards, so do your best to stand out. I recently made some that have a (cartoon) pictures of my face on them to make it easier for people to remember me.
Introduce Yourself in Person
Make sure that when the speaking sessions are over, you make an effort to connect with fellow conference attendees in person. There will be certain planned networking sessions, but feel free to offer to grab a drink with anyone else you met and were clicking with during the day – and encourage others to join!
Know Your Elevator Pitch
There’s a lot to be learned by attending a conference featuring many thought leaders in your industry. Take good notes, and offer to share them when all is said and done. People will appreciate the effort, and you’ll have someone to show for your time that can be taken back to your team.
Connect After the Conference
Final Thoughts: How to Get the Most From a Conference
Share in the comments so we can all be better conference-goers!