Business conferences can provide you with a plethora of career growth opportunities. You can meet new people, learn useful tricks and tips from leading experts, get up to date with industry trends, and gain new skills. If your goal is professional development, conferences are the place to be.
To tap into this rich source of learning, you need to know how to make the most out of its advantages. How you prepare and what actions you take during business conferences affect the whole conference experience.
Do you want to exploit the full potential of business conferences? Then, this is the guide for you.
Learn the ins and outs of business conferences and how to get the most out of them.
The Benefits of Attending Business Conferences
First and foremost, it is useful if you define your goal. Be clear with yourself on what you want to achieve by attending the conference.
Here are some key benefits of conferences that can help you pinpoint your goals:
- Get to know the people and experts in your industry.
- Make connections that can be valuable in the future.
- Stay up to date with the latest research, technology, and industry innovations.
- Work on your communication skills.
- Meet experts in your industry whom you admire.
- Broaden your horizons by discussing industry-related topics with other people in your field.
- Add it to your CV and show potential employees your proactive approach.
- As a presenter, you can get early feedback from experts in their field.
Based on your goal, you can mould your conference attendance to get you to that finish line. Put the spotlight on a single most important objective to make your conference attendance more fruitful.
How to Prepare for a Business Conference
Alexander Graham Bell famously said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” The preparation process sets a strong foundation for a successful business conference. Therefore, consider doing the following before you set sails.
1. Do your research
Don’t waste time or money on conferences that won’t bring you strong benefits. There are many business conferences for you to choose from so make sure that you make the right choice. Pay attention to:
- Topics that interest you
- Your budget
- Speakers whom you want to hear
- Type of people who attend that conference and whether they are a good networking choice
- Specific subjects that can serve you as inspiration in your future work
2. Pre-plan your activities
Good pre-planning will help you maximize the time you have. Here’s how to do pre-planning:
- Review the agenda
- Decide which events you want to attend
- Prioritize the list of events in case you don’t manage to attend all of them
- If there is anyone particular whom you want to meet, introduce yourself with an email to arrange a quick conversation
3. Get your business cards ready
Bring plenty of business cards. If you think that business cards are outdated, think again. They make you look more professional and increase your chance of getting contacted.
4. Prepare your pitch
The first impression matters. Ensure that you make a confident introduction by preparing your pitch. Come up with a quick – no more than a minute long – pitch. Include who you are, what you do, and what brings you to this conference.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Attendance
You got to the conference. Now what? The following tips are aimed at helping you have a great and productive time at the conference.
1. Attend briefings
If you are a newbie, you should make time for first-timers briefing. Many conferences host this type of event to welcome newcomers, introduce them to new people, and help them get more comfortable in this environment.
2. Take notes
Phone, tablet, laptop, or pen and notebook – whatever your choice of note-taking is, just make sure that you have it with you at all times. Don’t just focus on sessions. If you hear an interesting idea in a casual conversation write it down the moment you step away. You can also sum up each session with 5 key takeaways to make your notes more comprehensive for later.
3. Set your goal on how many people you’ll meet
The talk about networking sounds great. You’ll meet interesting people, you’ll have intelligent conversations, and maybe a few laughs. However, when the time comes to introduce yourself to strangers, intimidation and fear can kick in.
Give yourself a goal to meet a certain number of people. This will keep you motivated. If you don’t know how to start the conversation, here are a few ideas:
- Have you ever been to this conference?
- What are your impressions of the conference so far?
- What is the next session you plan to attend?
4. Don’t spread yourself thin
The priorities list that was mentioned before exists to keep you balanced. You can easily get caught up in a wide offer of amazing events. Trying to attend every session you planned initially can exhaust you. Keep your eyes on what matters to you the most and remember to have fun.
How to Leverage Your Conference Experience
When the doors of the conference hall close, you can say “this was fun,” and move on. Or, you can make the most out of the information you gathered and take action. Put your conference experience to good use in the following ways.
1. Connect with the people you met
Social media allows you to strengthen the relationships you’ve established during the conference. Instead of patiently waiting for an email or a call, go to LinkedIn and start connecting. This can remind the people you’d met of your acquaintance and the talk you had. Don’t shy away from sending a polite “It was a pleasure to meet you” kind of message.
2. Digest what you’ve learned
Take some time to reflect on the information you absorb. Go back to your notes and see if there’s a good idea in there that you can act on.
3. Use the content you’ve gathered
If you have a blog, website, or business social media page, turn your conference content into fresh posts. You can upload quality pictures, share clever ideas, update your followers on new findings, or give them a rundown of your experience. If you don’t have a platform where you can share your newly attained knowledge, pay it forward to your colleagues or business partners.
4. Add it to your CV
Don’t wait for the job-searching situation to get your CV in order. Write down in the CV the conference you attended as soon as possible. If you leave this for later, you can forget to make this addition. This is an important experience that can improve your professional image in the eyes of potential employers.
Business conferences are a source of incredibly valuable experiences and knowledge. That’s why you should ensure that you make the most out of it. Hopefully, this guide will help you feel more prepared to take on this new business adventure with confidence and assurance.
This is a guest blog post written by
Marques Coleman. Marques is a professional writer who specializes in marketing and copywriting. Brands and business owners rely on his expertise to create compelling content that will win over their audience. He keeps his knowledge up to date by regularly attending conferences and hosting copywriting seminars. In addition to being a copywriter, Marques also works as an editor for Subjecto, a free database of essay samples and flashcards. When he is not working, Marques dedicates all his free time to traveling.