How to Make the Most of Your Next Business Conference
Networking is the bread and butter of business.
If you want to not only succeed but flourish in your industry, you are going to have to build strong connections.
There is no better place to do so than at a business conference. It can lead to a wealth of opportunities down the road, such as a growing customer base and client referrals.
Not sure where to start? Here are 10 tips for making the most of your next business conference.
1. Embrace a Networking Mindset
The thought of networking might fill you with dread.
If that's your mindset, you will fail to build essential connections. As a result, the event will be fruitless.
Before you suit up for a conference, you must adopt a networking mindset. This will ensure you have the right attitude going in.
Don't spend the days before dreading the event, thinking it won't lead to anything. Know in your mind that you will build relationships.
It will change your approach when you enter the conference. You could come away with some potential connections and opportunities.
2. Create an Elevator Pitch
It might help to know that many professionals feel anxiety at a business conference.
One of the best ways you can overcome your nerves is by creating an elevator pitch.
This is a short description of who you are, where you work and what you provide to your customers/clients.
Don't make it sound as though you're reading it from a script. You'll seem like a robot. Make it conversational and try to say it within 60 seconds.
3. Review the Agenda
Most conferences are full to the brim with informative sessions.
Review the agenda to attend the sessions that relate to your needs.
This will help to lay the foundation of your conference game plan. You'll know where you need to be before you even step inside.
4. Set Yourself a Goal
Never attend a business conference without setting yourself a goal.
It will help you to stay on track with your business aims. That way, you won't end up networking all day with someone who will bring next to no benefit to your business.
5. Prepare for Success
You will want to walk away from the conference with as many connections as possible.
That's why you should give yourself a head start before you attend the event.
How do you do that? It's simple and it could give you an advantage over other delegates.
Not only should you review the agenda so you know where to attend, but use social media to your advantage. Visit the event's Facebook page and try to connect with other attendees online.
You could also use the Twitter hashtag to find out who is talking about the event.
If they're talking about it, let them know you will be there and, if they look like a good connection, arrange a time to meet.
Another way to prepare for success is to bring a phone and laptop charger with you.
You will be at the event all day. The last thing you will want is a dead battery when you were about to store someone's contact details on your phone.
6. Take a Fresh Notebook
A fresh notebook will allow you to jot down many ideas, important points or quotes during the event.
Note taking is a great way to absorb information at the event, as you can refer to them when back at the office. Noting down key takeaways from the event will allow you to use the ideas to grow your business.
Don't be tempted to type all the information onto a laptop. Not only is this noisy, but writing with pen and paper improves note-taking.
7. Build Relationships
Social media can help you to identify who will be attending the business conference.
Once you know who might be there, create a target list of potential connections.
Research the people who you could connect with at the event. By doing so, you will know exactly who you are talking to at the event.
If you want to play it smart, save their photo on your phone so you know who to look for in the crowd.
There will be many attendees who have also done their research, but they might fail with a hard sell.
Be friendly, polite and natural. No sales pitches.
8. Have Plenty of Business Cards at the Ready
You will want to make a good first impression, and a business card can help you do so.
The design and quality of the card will reflect your company.
If it is a poor design on low-quality paper, you will appear to be a low-quality company or budding entrepreneur.
Create a card that reinforces strong branding. It could help you to stand out from the crowd at a business conference.
If you know you have created a strong business card with the right contact details, hand as many out as possible.
When a fellow attendee returns to their office, it could be your business card they pick up over the rest in the pile.
If you want to give you give yourself the edge over your competitors and business cards, hand them a promotional pen.
9. Make the Most of a Small Business Conference
A small business conference allows you to take a good look at the event.
They can also flow much better, as there will not be many sessions taking place at the same time.
You can attend all the sessions and will still have an opportunity to mix with people. This means you will have a greater chance of interacting with the speakers on a personal level, too.
You're also more likely to rub shoulders with influential people in attendance. Remember, there's less competition.
If you want to meet the big industry names, small conferences might not be the way to go, as they may attend larger events.
Yet, if you want to mix with influential innovators, you should definitely book a ticket.
10. Stand Out at a Large Business Conference
Large conferences are full of energy and opportunity.
Do you want to mix with industry leaders, CEOs and successful entrepreneurs? There's no better place to be.
The event will present you with a chance to connect with people within and outside your industry.
It's your opportunity to introduce yourself to people you would likely never meet.
It's a great way to expand your network in one or a couple of days, which could grow your business in the future.
The only downside is that tickets for the large conferences can cost a few thousand dollars. Yet, it could help you to see a return on your investment and then some.
If you follow all the above tips above, you can ensure you will make the most of the opportunity.
Have you got any business conference tips we left out? Share your advice with us in the comment section.
Business conferences are a great opportunity for learning, networking and advertising. Learn how to make the most of your next business conference here!