We’ve spoken at length about how to plan a successful business conference. We’ve given advice on everything from budgeting to marketing, along with some actionable tips and tricks of the trade to make the planning process easier and more effective.
But it’s time to look at things from a different perspective.
How about some handy tips for those attending a business conference? After all, unless you’re a professional event planner, it’s likely you attend more business events as a guest than as a host.
While it’s certainly true that the success of any event rests on the shoulders of the host and their staff, it is equally true that no event can be truly successful if the guests come unprepared.
So, for a bit of a change of pace, we’ve put together some top tips to help attendees prepare for the next big business conference.
Plan Your Day in Advance
First things first, make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before the event. Business conferences are intensive, and you need to be on your toes to get the most out of the day’s activities.
Eat a good breakfast, and give yourself plenty of travel time so you arrive at the venue well before the start of proceedings.
Most business conferences are, at the very least, day long affairs. So, it is important to plan ahead.
First and foremost, you need to attend to your business attire. You want to look professional, but you also want to be comfortable. Dress to impress, but keep in mind you will be networking all day.
Choose something business appropriate but comfortable. Pay special attention to your choice of shoes, as you will be on your feet for a good part of the day.
Your Personal Schedule
If possible, get a copy of the conference’s agenda well in advance. This will give you the opportunity to plan your day in detail.
Select the presentations that interest you the most, and plan your personal schedule around them. These are the sessions that you find most beneficial, and that you know you can’t afford to miss.
Early prep is the key, and you should make notes ahead of time so you can actively take part in the proceedings. Write out any questions you want addressed, and come prepared to take notes during the presentations. Bring a tablet or smartphone to record the sessions, and save the recordings for further reference.
Be Prepared to Network
Networking is major focus of any business conference, and you need to be prepared from the outset to introduce yourself and your business to other attendees.
Practice your pitch until your message is clear and concise. Be prepared to engage not only with the other guests, but with the event’s sponsors and exhibitors as well. These are all prime contacts, and can prove invaluable to you and your business.
Prepare Your Marketing Material
A big part of any conference is selling yourself, and your business. That requires up to date and effective marketing materials. At the very least, you should have some new business cards printed up and ready to go.
Ideally, you could have a brochure designed and printed ahead of time to present to any likely clients or business partners. The initial investment will definitely pay off.
And don’t be stingy with those cards and brochures. Spread them around, and be sure to gather business cards and brochures from other guests and exhibitors.
The Follow Up
Finally, there is the follow up. All of the networking you’ve done at the conference is only the start. You need to follow up with the contacts you’ve made; ideally within a week of the event while the conference is still uppermost in everyone’s mind.
It may be a phone call or an email, but the key here is to stay connected to any contacts that can be of benefit to you and your business.
Preparation is the key to any successful business conference; whether you are the host or the guest. It is important to decide what you want to get out of the event, and to lay the groundwork ahead of time.
Plan your day in detail, and thoroughly develop your networking and marketing strategies. A little preparation can go a long way towards making your conference attendance a big success.