Your conference is your rock concert: it’s where you become known within your industry or become an official non-factor to your colleagues. Assuming that you want to end up closer to the rock star status, here are a few ways to make a big impression at your next conference.
1. Do your due diligence.
Decide on the seminars that are most important to your professional life and to your company. Take note: the topics do not have to be at the centre of this decision. Many times, making a personal contact with an important speaker is much more relevant that attending a talk that rehashes facts that you already know. Of course, you will not know who is important within your industry unless you also research that beforehand.
2. Network, network, network.
The reason to research the speakers and attendees before the conference is to get close to potential clients, partners and suppliers. You may have a mandate of listening to certain topics at the conference, but your number one unspoken priority is to come back with important business cards and personal relationships.
3. Take notes when you are in good conversations.
The best tidbits of information that you will come away with will likely be from individuals you personally connect with. The one-on-one conversations that you have with people are a valuable part of the experience. Jot down some notes on the back of each contact’s business card so you can recall the details of your conversation for future reference. This is a great trick for remembering the people and conversations that you had.
4. Take in the sights.
Seminar organizers often choose their locations based on the local environment. They want you to have time to network with colleagues in a notable setting, so take advantage! Just as you will have your best conversations in private, you are most likely to have these chats in an environment when everyone is relaxed rather than in a stuffy business situation where everyone believes they are staring at potential competition.
5. Be a leader.
If you have the time and the wherewithal, set up your own event. People love new faces and new ideas; otherwise, they would see the same speeches and get the same perspective from the same people over and over again. If you really want to be remembered, organize a seminar event that fixes everything that you think is wrong with the previous conferences that you have attended. Were they boring? Make your event fun. Were the topics stale? Update your presentation and make it modern. Did the speaker talk too long? Show them how it is done by packing the best information into the shortest presentation.
Do you have any other tips to get the most out of conferences and seminars?
Brittany Giles is the Social Media Specialist at The Printing House.