Industry meetings and conferences are a great opportunity for professional growth and to gain visibility in your industry. If you want to get the most out of your next conference, here are some helpful tips:
Have a Plan – industry conferences can be busy and confusing. Preparation is key to getting the most out of your time.
- Review the meeting schedule before the conference.
- Set up a schedule based on the speakers, seminars, and networking events you want to attend.
- Research the topics and presenters before the meeting so you get the most value from the presentations.
- Check the attendee list and send out emails to connect with other attendees. This is a great way to get some face time with potential clients.
- If available, download the meeting App. Many conferences provide an App that will keep you up to date on changes and additions to the schedule.
Get the most out of the seminars and presentations.
- Choose seminars based on topics you need to know, and topics you are interested in learning about.
- You may want to attend presentations on topics you have (or will be) presenting or that are specific to your current role. This can give you additional insight and ideas.
- Review the schedule for presenters that you would like to connect with. Complimenting someone on their presentation is a great way to network.
Take advantage of networking opportunities.
- Roundtable Discussion – a great way to meet new people in an informal setting.
- Luncheons – many have great keynote speakers and give you the opportunity to interact with the group at your table. Try and choose a table where you don’t know everyone, to encourage meeting and networking with others.
- Mixers/Meet and Greets – don’t shy away from social opportunities. You can learn about a specific group while networking with their members.
- Exhibit hall – if the meeting has an exhibit hall, make sure to walk through a few times. Review the list of exhibitors in advance and make a plan for those you want to see. This is a great opportunity to get one-on-one time with the exhibitors you want to connect with.
Follow up after the meeting.
- Don’t forget to spend some time making notes after the meeting and following up with your new connections by email. You are not taking advantage of the meeting if you don’t follow up with your new contacts.
Industry meetings and conferences are not just a great way to keep up to date on your industry, they are also a way to build your network. Preparing in advance will help you to make the most out of each meeting.