If you are planning to attend an upcoming conference to gain new skills, network with professionals in your industry, or learn about new trends, it is important to prepare yourself for the event. There are plenty of reasons to attend a conference, including the free refreshments and meals, but if you do not prepare in advance you are not going to get the most out of the event.
Here are the 10 tips on how to organize events and how you can find time to do everything you planned at your conference, while still finding time to enjoy yourself:
Why just be an attendee when you can be a facilitator or a volunteer. One great way to maximize your experience and to gain visibility is to get involved with the organizer and volunteer your services. This is an excellent way to gain a good reputation and to stand out to those who matter.
2. Connect With The Experts
Organizers choose experts to represent the company at a conference. While you can learn a lot from just listening to what the speaker has to say, you can learn even more if you stick around and ask questions. Connect with the speaker, network with them, and do not forget to follow up after the conference is over.
You might take time building new relationships, but save some time to reconnect with professionals you already know. All too often, you get too busy to catch up with your vendors and colleagues. See the conference as a opportunity to meet up with long lost friends and business professionals who will be attending and make time for coffee.
4. Attend the Briefing
If this is your first time attending a conference, you might be intimidated by all of the scheduled sessions. You are not alone. The best organizers will make time for a briefing, where individuals can find out everything they need to know about future sessions. This is a great time to connect with other first-timers as well.
5. Go to the Sessions That Matter the Most
One thing you will quickly learn is that there are entirely too many sessions at a conference for you to attend. When you are scheduling what sessions you will go to, make sure you make time for the ones that matters most. After you pencil these in, fill in the rest of your time with sessions that will help you build skills or network.
6. Write Down Takeaways
It is easy to forget all of the information presented at a conference if you do not take the time to take notes. Your notes do not have to be pages in length, but make sure that you write down 3 to 5 takeaways of every session so that you can easily share it with your colleagues.
Learning is important, but socializing is important too. There will be social sessions, where you can network and hold conversations with others in your industry. Take advantage of this opportunity to connect in a relaxed setting.
8. Download the Events App
All experienced conference organizers develop an events app for participants to use throughout each session. This app will help you stay engaged and will even give you access to speaker notes and content. Download this app, check-in at sessions, and stay engaged.
9. Follow-up with Your New Connections
When you have time, take out the business cards and contact information you gathered at the conference and follow up with each person. Send them a short message letting them know you enjoyed speaking with them and ask to setup a meeting if it is appropriate.
If you were the lucky person in your office who got to attend the conference, make sure to pass on the information you learned. Use your app, show colleagues the content or the videos, and you can pay it forward.
Plan ahead, stay visible, and build relationships while you build your skills. By staying engaged and sociable, you can take a lot away from the conference and have fun stories to tell.
Francis Miller is a traveling business man who has attended many conferences in his lifetime. Francis is always in search of ways to get more out of the conferences he attends.
Event app information from http://doubledutch.me/
Additional information and tips on attending conferences from QuickSprout.com’s Beginners Guide To Attending Conferences.
Photo Credit: JD Hancock