Top Tips To Get The Most Out of Our Conferences
1. Be clear on your goals
- Do you want to consolidate existing relationships or meet new people?
- Do you want to acquire “how to” expertise or to gather industry insights and intelligence?
- From a personal standpoint, are you trying to grow your “personal brand” or make connections with others?
- Learn more in order to do your current job better, or to get to the next level?
2. Attend sessions you don’t already know a lot about
At the event itself, while this might sound obvious, when multiple sessions happen simultaneously you should consciously choose to attend those on topics you don’t already know a lot about. All of us have a predisposition to be attracted to the familiar, and when you’re surrounded by strangers at a conference you’ll naturally gravitate to those subjects you already feel more comfortable with. But resist that temptation.
3. Listen to case studies
Sessions involving detailed, single-company case studies – often delivered by the person at a company who was in charge of the project in the first place – can be very informative and interesting. Let’s face it: no one learns as much from a success as they do from dealing with a problem or a mistake. And case study presentations at conferences are the one venue in which you might get genuine insight about the kinds of things that went wrong and should perhaps have been done differently. Why we did it, what we thought it would be like, what went wrong, how it paid off, or not…
4. Ask questions
Use the Q&A period after presentations to ask about problems and obstacles encountered and how they were overcome. And ensure you get the answers that will be the most valuable for you personally. Make sure you don’t miss the Country Roundtables and many panel debates, as these are the best forums in which to do this.
5. Use a checklist each morning before leaving your hotel room to make sure you don’t inadvertently forget something
- Business cards. Take a LOT of them, and always have a supply on your person.
- Conference agenda with sessions marked
- List of companies or attendees you most want to meet or connect with
- Laptop or tablet. Capture notes electronically so you can more easily retrieve and use them later