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Chris Bell

How to make the most of attending a conference

Many who work in business understand how crucial it is network and attend conference events. However, attending such events are only useful if you absorb all of the valuable information that you heard and take it away with you to make valuable connections.

Wyboston Lakes, whose conference centre in Milton Keynes has hosted numerous business meetups, have spoken out on how to make the most of attending a conference, ensuring you get the most out of your time and money invested.

Plan ahead

For a conference to be successful for either the host or delegate, strategic planning needs to take place before hand. having a rough idea of how the day is going to go including the key people you wish to have discussions with will keep your day structured. This could be a mental list of some of the people in your industry that will be beneficial to your business. Networking face-to-face is a great way of setting up a professional relationship.

If you are hosting, clarify the purpose and the aims in order of importance, so that they’re stuck to throughout. Everything else will fit into the agenda, which is what will land the aims and objectives.

Information overload

Make sure that you know all the relevant information about the event. Start by checking the schedule of the event. If there are seminar clashes, then decide on which is going to be more beneficial, or even bring a second person from the business if necessary. Checking the layout of the event is another good factor to consider before the day, if it’s a larger event, such as an annual business conference, knowing which rooms are hosting which events will give you the advantage on the day.

Don’t forget social media! Business events are now tech-savvy and coming with them is a dedicated hashtag. Follow it on Twitter and begin conversations with guests to quash any ice breakers, this is especially good for shy people who may take a while to get going, possibly missing key time. Even a quirky tweet from a corporate account can get your businesses name into the minds of the delegates before they arrive by utilising the events hashtag.

Who are you?

Heard of an elevator pitch? With many delegates at an event you’re going to have to not only sum up your role and business purpose but sell it to them as well in a quick 30 second introduction. Have an idea in mind what you’re going to say so that you don’t fluff up your lines at the crucial moment. At the same time, although it should be short and to the point, it shouldn’t sound too robotic or rehearsed.

Make sure you’re not forgotten

Business cards are an effective and professional way to give your contact details to anyone you connect with at the event to make sure you’re not forgotten about. For the smaller businesses out there, business cards aren’t seen as an early priority, but they’re a fantastic way to spread the word of your business, and an essential at conference events. You don’t have to litter the cards with lots of unnecessary information, simple contact details, name of organisation as well as job role is sufficient. Either go for less is more in design or make it quirky and stand out! You can purchase all kinds of business cards from Where the Trade Buys.

Staying in contact with connections

Now begins what to do following the event and the most important of these is making contact with the connections you had established whilst there. Within the first three days, the contact is still warm, so you aren’t wasting any time on re-introducing yourself.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the days immediately after an event are most likely going to be a busy time for most, so allow up to a week before expecting to hear back.

Making event documents available

For those that are going to be hosting, it’s very important to share the slides from the skills classes and seminars that were held throughout the day. If the event required attendees to provide their emails upon registering, then a simple mass email will go a long way.

It’s also great for those hosting conference events to ask for feedback. A simple questionnaire sent out to the guests could give a lot of statistics and data going into your next event, including what to avoid and what they particularly enjoyed the most.

The more times you attend or host events the more knowledge you will accrue, get out there and start networking!