Business conferences or summits provide great value but they can be overwhelming if you are unprepared. These events are usually filled with speaker panels, networking sessions, interactive workshops and more.
So, how do you make the most of your conference experience without being overwhelmed or getting lost in the crowd?
Do not wander through the crowd hoping to meet your favourite speaker or worse, finally meet them and forget what you wanted to discuss.
In this guide, we will provide some of the best tips to overcome traditional summit woes and achieve a great conference experience.
Focus Your Goals
The first thing you should do before you even start travelling to a conference is to focus on your goals and establish what you want to get out of the event.
Are you hoping to build your business connections? Do you want to gain more industry knowledge? Or, maybe you are hoping to pitch a new strategy to like-minded individuals and receive feedback?
Whatever your reason for attending is, setting specific goals beforehand will help you focus during the event and accomplish more.
Plan Your Day
Our next tip is to plan your day. Many summits have different programs set up and some of them overlap so you must research the topics and prioritize which ones you will attend.
Besides planning the actual panel sessions you will attend, you also need to think about what you will need for a full day of networking and learning.
Here are a few of the things we suggest:
- Extra pens
- Power bank or extra chargers
- Hand Sanitizer
- Hand Lotion
- A light jacket (even in the summer)
For a list of more things to pack and other travel tips, check out our guide for business travellers.
Utilise Online Resources
In the months/weeks leading up to the conference, take advantage of any online resources offered. Each of our events has a subscription area at the bottom of the page that helps you stay up to date on event changes.
Simply enter your full name and email and then you will be alerted if a speaker is added or removed, if social activities are added, etc.
We also provide individual LinkedIn groups for each summit as a resource before the summit. The event chairman, keynote speakers and other industry executives are all added to these groups well in advance of the summit.
These groups are a great place to connect with the other attendees of the conference and share challenges or ideas before or after the event.
LinkedIn also has a great nearby feature to use during the conference.
Connect With Your Internal Team
Companies do not always have the budget or resources to send more than one representative to an event. If you are the lucky one chosen to attend, connect with your internal team before you leave.
See what issues they are facing or what questions they want answered and then take that with you to the conference.
Schedule Time With Speakers
As we mentioned earlier, the schedules during these events are usually packed and even during the “free time” you have speakers can be approached by many different people, making it hard to establish a genuine connection with them.
To help avoid this, connect with the speakers before the summit and try to schedule one-on-one time with them. Even if it is grabbing coffee or lunch, this creates valuable time for you to get your questions answered.
We mentioned our LinkedIn groups that provide a platform for you to connect with speakers or attendees on but you can connect through any social media channel. Tweet at the speaker you are most excited to meet and watch the relationship evolve from there.
We also have a complete guide on how to utilise Twitter before, during and after the conference.
Have A Networking Plan
Having a networking plan is vital to your success at a conference or summit, yet most people still show up to an event without one.
Maybe you are thinking — I will just show up and meet a bunch of people. While you can easily accomplish that, it does not create a solid foundation to build those relationships on. Either you or your new connection will possibly forget the meeting ever occurred because you meet so many people over a few days.
Establish a plan with whom you want to meet, questions you need answered and successful examples to add to the conversation. By researching and preparing this information, you create valuable topics to discuss which creates a more memorable experience for everyone.
For even more advice on how to create a great conference experience, read our full blog here!
Looking for business conferences to attend or speak at? Check out our upcoming events and register today!