How to Get the Most Benefit from Attending a Business Conference: 10 Tips Important Tips
What to Do When Attending Your Next Business Conference
Small business owners and entrepreneurs should make conference attendance a part of their yearly budget and strategic plan, but do you know how to get the most out of spending your valuable time and money attending a business conference? Here are a few suggestions to help you get the most from attending your next business conference:
- Arrive early! Arriving early gives you an advantage because now you have the opportunity to network, meet new people and find out new products and services in your industry.
- Wear a name tag.(If you don't have one and the conference doesn't provide one, create one.) Wear it on the right side of your jacket or blouse.
- Don't forget your business cards! I can't stress that enough. Be sure they are easily accessible (no fumbling, please), preferably in an attractive business card holder. There is an etiquette to handing out business cards. This is another opportunity to stand out. And, just as important - maybe more - don't forget to ask the person you are meeting for their business card! You can't follow-up if you don't have their information.
- Sit with someone you don't know, even when you may see colleagues you already know, unless, of course, you want to get to know more about their business and how you can do business together. Ask for the contact information.
- Take the time to visit vendors if exhibits are a part of your conference. Discover what’s new on the market that can enhance your business or make your work easier. Find out who your competition is. Again, arrive early!
- Sit up front; why not in the front row? But if not the front row, then as close as you can get. Sometimes interactive sessions pay off in prizes. Besides, if you are in the front, you (and your business) have a better opportunity to stand out.
Use Good Table Manners and Don't Forget the Elevator Speech!
6. If a meal is served, don’t neglect to use good manners. Etiquette is still important and bad table manners are still noticed. Know which fork to use first and which is your bread plate. Avoid speaking with food in your mouth and don't forget the napkin goes in the lap. If you are a male, stand when others approach your table.
7. If you are confused or would like to follow-up on something the speaker said, the Q&A session is the perfect time toe get your questions answered. This can also help you make a possible connection with the speaker. Don't miss the opportunity to follow-up with the speaker after the session or during a break if you still have questions.
8. Commonly called the "elevator speech," prepare to deliver a short, 30-second explanation of your business and the most important ways your services or product can help the listener. Elements of a good elevator speech are:
- concise and understandable.
- delivered without hesitation.
- delivered with confidence and enthusiasm.
Practice at home before the conference. You want to make an impression.
9. Believe it or not, you should take out that cell phone during the session, but not to make phone calls. This is an opportunity to shout out about the conference. Send tweets and post to Facebook at appropriate times. Many times the conference will provide you their hashtags. Let others know you take an active interest in growing your business and at the same time you are helping the conference sponsors and speakers by using social media to market their products and expertise.
10. Most important of all, remember to follow up with everyone you meet. Make a phone call; send a note (yes, a handwritten note). Ask to add them to your social media and especially to your email list. There is gold in those business cards you habitually collect. Don’t let them sit. Use them to grow new relationships. They could be your next customers or collaborators.
Attending a conference is more than just paying for the conference and showing up. Learning and networking is the order of the day (or week). This is your opportunity to learn and grow your business. You paid for it, now get the most out of attending that business conference. Take a few moments to prepare.
Do you feel you got the most out of the last conference you attended? I'd like to hear about it. Take the quiz and leave a comment.
Your Conference Experience
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© 2016 Cynthia B Turner