I attend over 15 conferences a year, either as a speaker, guest of a client, organizer or regular attendee. It is a great way to expand your territory, garner great industry knowledge, receive training and development, meet prospective clients and make strategic alliances.
There are rules and strategies of protocol and etiquette for almost everything and conferences are no different. Once you understand the conference goals and even more importantly as they apply to your own goals, you will realize that conferences are what you make of them.
This weeks Newsletter and Blog is designed to ensure that every conference you attend provides you with a valuable and engaging experience.
Email us and tell us what conferences you plan to attend over the next 12 months. A shout out to the organizers, sponsors and speakers at the National Urban League Conference next week in the City of Brotherly Love- Philadelphia. Stop in Booth 201 and meet the AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership LifeStyle Champions for some health tips! Delilah Winder may share her healthy Mac & Cheese Recipe with you.
1. Set clear goals and takeaways
The old saying “failing to plan equals planning to fail” rings true here. Clearly being open to unexpected opportunities is important, but don’t just wing it. It is necessary to have a clear sense of what you hope to achieve. Are there individuals you want to be sure to meet? Is there a particular message you want to get out; a piece of information you want to obtain or disseminate? Know what you’re after and go get it.
2. Prepare talking points
Prepare to discuss your business interests and goals. Develop a 5-second headline, a 30-second commercial and finally talking points for a more in-depth conversation. Remember, talking points should not replace natural and free flowing conversation. They will ensure that your core purpose and message are not lost.
3. Learn about the event
This means do your research. Make it your business to learn as much as you can about the sponsors, hosts, speakers and invitees participating in the conference. Study the conference materials and agenda and choose your itinerary carefully.
4. Always follow-up
Revisiting with the people you’ve encountered is essential. Appropriate follow-up may vary. Whether you’re sending a personal note, setting up a business meeting or sending someone your business plan, there is always follow-up work to do afterwards. Set a few days aside to send out communication to those individuals you encountered.