No matter what job you do, or no matter what you are planning to do in the future, it is so important to make sure that you regularly attend business conferences. These are not only part of the job but actually a core part of being successful in your business. If you would like to know what you should be doing in this respect, then it is definitely recommended to have a core strategy when it comes to succeeding at a business conference. The good news is that this guide has been created in order to give you a key overview.
If you are interested in learning more, especially as conferences have been starting up in earnest after coronavirus pandemic measures have been loosened, then you should truly be arming yourself with all the knowledge needed to get to grips with the conference game. To learn all about it, then you should definitely take a look at this guide which will be able to give you the information that you need. Read on now in order to learn all about it.
Print Off Business Cards
A business card can often be part of a first impression if it is passed around, so it is a good idea to make sure that it is of a good quality card stock, it contains your contact details, and even a QR code to instantly access your website or social media so people can get in touch with you later.
Business conferences are all about marketing and making connections, the kind that leads someone to be able to contact you later. The best way to be able to give someone your information in a quick and easy way is to have printed off a business card that you can easily give to them. Not only does it give them a simple way to get in touch with you, but it also shows that you are a true professional.
Practice Your Networking Skills
Here’s the open secret about networking that no one else will tell you: it’s extremely awkward. You are standing in front of people you don’t know at all, and you have to have the kinds of conversations that can turn into business opportunities. If you are not used to these kinds of conversations, it can be a particularly strange and bizarre time. Nonetheless, one way for it to get easier is to simply keep practicing your networking skills. It can be anything from going to a trained counselor who knows all about this industry to help you learn how to network to regularly throwing yourself into packed bars and getting to know people. Either way, it will mean that when you actually turn up at the conference, you will find it easier to improve business connections.
Consider Going Digital
The coronavirus pandemic, whereby conferences, due to the fact that they involve hundreds or even thousands of people congregating in the same space, led to many in-person conferences actually being canceled. People didn’t despair, though and actually found a whole host of exciting digital alternatives instead. While many people might claim that the vibes “simply aren’t the same”, this truly depends on the type of aim that you have. As if your aim from a conference is to make connections and to end up improving your business, you might find that you can achieve a lot of the same success digitally.
This is especially true when you consider the way that digital conferences have evolved. They don’t just mean Zoom calls with lots of people talking at once but have branched out into all kinds of different use-cases. Try it for yourself, and you might find yourself deciding to save on costs involved with physically being at a conference.
Conferences are invaluable to your business, no matter whether or not you are a start-up or a fully-fledged Fortune 500 company. With that said, sometimes the tickets for a conference can be rather expensive. Although this is something that you can obviously offset against taxes, it can still represent a significant business cost. Therefore, you should be doing what you can in order to be able to cut those costs down.
One good way to be able to cut down on costs is just by ordering as early as possible, as early bird tickets can usually be a whole lot cheaper. The second-best option, if the conference you are thinking of attending are actually a start-up themselves, is just writing them an email, asking to become a partner — you just have to put your logo on their website usually, or post a few items on social media — and they will probably give you a sizeable discount or even a free ticket. Whatever you do, don’t pay full price for anything when you don’t have to. If they aren’t interested in this idea, then look around for discount codes by checking their social media pages or reading their newsletter.
Have a Plan
Like with many parts of life, there is no point in going to a business conference unless you have a plan. Going without a plan is basically just going on an expensive holiday. Therefore, if you want to get the most out of a business conference, you should be aware of absolutely everything that you plan to do there and what you actually want to achieve. You should write down a list of absolutely everything that you would like to achieve at the conference before figuring out a way to achieve them. A few examples of goals at a conference might be:
- Get 100 LinkedIn Connects
- Collect 50 Business Cards
- Obtain Five Follow Up Meetings
- Introduce Yourself to 150 People
- Go to Five Events
You will know what you want to achieve in this context, so it’s worth setting out your own goals as well. These ones were just provided as a couple of great examples.
Make Connections in Advance
If you want to make a success of your conference-going, you should have an idea of the type of people that you should be getting in touch within advance. If you are not knowledgeable about the types of speakers that could be at the event, you should look at the program in great detail before adding all the necessary people on LinkedIn — a must-have for your career. Make these connections and then ask them if they have time for a quick chat or even a meeting. The benefit of doing this is that they probably be able to connect the face from the online conversation with the person in person, allowing for easier face-to-face meet-ups.
Don’t Do Too Much
When you factor in flights, especially chaotic domestic ones, or trains, or buses, or taxis, constantly talking to people who you might know or maybe don’t know all that well, going to plenty of talks, walking around a lot, and getting up early in order to make the hotel breakfast and the early seminars, you are actually going to run the very real risk of burnout. This means that when you are going to a conference, you should schedule breaks, so you are able to properly relax and recharge yourself. This means that when you are meeting people, you are able to give the best of yourself at any given time.
Stay in Touch With Hospitality
If you are taking part in any conference that is genuinely worth its salt, then they should definitely have a hospitality department. These hospitality departments are likely to have their own budget that they can use when it comes to making sure that their guests are taken care of. You should definitely be getting in contact with this hospitality department no matter whether you have been invited or you are attending on your own dime.
You’d be surprised by how generous hospitality departments can be, potentially covering your hotel costs, travel costs, and even giving you free tickets. Additionally, if they do not give you anything the first time around, it’s definitely worth staying in touch with them in order to see if they are able to give you a proper invitation the second time around. This is important to consider as a cost-saving exercise, especially if you are attending several different conferences a year.
You might be an old hand at attending conferences, or it might even be your first time in the conference field; either way, this guide has been made to give you all the information that you need when it comes to succeeding at a business conference. The most important tip, however, is to take a deep breath and try to relax and to enjoy yourself: it’s likely that if you are the type of person who is reading this guide, you are probably also the type of person who knows what steps they should be taking in order to achieve business success. Finally, good luck when attending business conferences and remember to have fun!