For those of you attending or planning to attend a conference in the near future, here are a few simple steps to help you squeeze the full potential out of your experience.
1. Planning: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Leading up to the conference, learn about the tracks being focused on, read through each of the session abstracts, and research every speaker. By gathering intel beforehand, you’ll be able to identify which sessions will provide the most value vs. the promotional vendor-type sessions that basically boil down to a glorified pitch deck.
2. Engagement: Networking is like sales. Without proactive outreach, you’re less likely to seal the deal. That being said, seize each opportunity to listen and share your own thoughts during the Q&A segments, while killing time between sessions, or when you’re chatting at the evening networking events.
3. Advocacy: Do this leading up to, during, and after a conference. Essentially, you want to become an unofficial social media-marketing advocate for the event, sponsors, and speakers. This is a solid way to continue the conversation and build on the new relationships that have been formed.
You may be aware of these basic tactics, but I challenge you to harness them and give them a test drive the next time you attend a conference. See how you can optimize your own experience, and build relationships that will reap benefits long after the final keynote.
If you have any additional thoughts or ideas on how to get the most out of attending a marketing conference, please feel free to share your tips!