Conference Confidence: Strategies for Getting the Max Out of Your Attendance
Conferences are an integral aspect of business life and can serve a useful purpose if you decide to attend, but you have to know how to make the best of your time when you get there.
Here are some tips and strategies to help you utilize your time in the most productive way possible, including having a solid plan before you go, why orienteering is essential, plus a sensible strategy for dividing your time.
It’s all about the pregame
You have to formulate a plan and a strategy beforehand about what you want to get out of the conference and who you might want to see and meet during your time there.
Arriving at the conference and then working out your itinerary once you are handed the schedule of events at the door is going to end up severely hindering your chances of getting the maximum benefit out of your attendance.
It is far better to arrive and check in with a formulated plan of how you are going to use your day, so be prepared and do your homework before you get to the conference.
Finding your way around
Many conferences are massive events and orientation is a big challenge if you are unfamiliar with the layout and the conference is spread out across multiple venues or halls.
A good tip would be to choose a hotel in a central location or close to where you want to be, such as the Marriott West Virginia Charleston Town Center, for example, and then get there in good time to get your bearings by walking around the venue the night before if access is possible.
If you can’t get in before the conference starts, get a map from the host and study it so that you have a clearer idea of where you need to go once you get inside.
You can waste a lot of your time just searching for a booth or particular speaker venue and it is possible to reduce this loss with a bit of orienteering before everything starts.
If you are attending a conference with colleagues it makes sense to work together and formulate a plan that allows you to see and do as much as possible
Assign a set of tasks and goals that you want to achieve from the conference and then divide them up so that you can all go in a different direction before regrouping at a given time to run through some key takeaways from the day.
When the conference is over
Another important aspect of deriving the most benefit from your attendance would be to ensure that you follow up on all the prospects you met and discussions you had during your time there.
Networking and cementing existing relationships are part of the attraction of conferences and if you can gain some new customers and improve your dialogue with existing ones as a result of attending, it can help justify the time and money spent being there.