Conferences are often an unnecessary part of our jobs and, especially if you’ve previously had a bad experience, can be pretty scary and downright intimidating. However, remember that even the best of conference-goers once felt the same way, but with lots of practice and a lot of hard work and effort, they were able to ace every conference they’ve been to since. And with these five amazing tips, you can do the same.
See Also: How to Make the Most of Conferences
1. Find Out Who’s Going
The conference’s organizers will usually publish a schedule of key speakers and panels before the event, and it goes without saying that you should familiarize yourself with it. Doing so will provide you with an excellent opportunity to find out who’s going so that you’ll be able to better research these important individuals.
The more information you have on these people, the more effective your networking efforts will be. You’ll find it far easier to approach them, for one, especially if you’ve already reached out to them beforehand on LinkedIn or Twitter.
2. Stay in the Same Hotel as the Conference Is Being Held
Like you, many other attendees as well speakers, panelists, vendors, and VIPs will be staying there, too, increasing the likelihood of you having “chance meetings” with them in the hotel lobby, gym, or bar. These “outside the conference” meetings have the potential to turn into flourishing business relationships and could provide you with further opportunities for career advancement.
Meanwhile, you won’t have to worry about running late for a particular presentation if you’re staying in the same hotel as the conference, unless, of course, you sleep through your alarm; but that’s a whole different story.
3. Take Smart Notes
Almost everything will be worth taking a note of at a conference, but this is something that you should avoid doing as much possible. While every speaker will have something important and valuable to say, you can’t afford to spend the entire conference taking note after note. You’ll end up focusing your efforts on the note-taking and could then potentially miss out on the points that truly matter. To avoid this, only take notes of whatever stands out to you, anything new you learn, and any ideas that inspire you.
4. Come Prepared
Most conferences can last anywhere between several hours to a week or two, so coming prepared is an absolute must if you want to make it past the first couple of hours. Bring notebooks and lots of pens (just like lighters, pens have a tendency to magically disappear) for note-taking; breath mints (dog breath could make you stand out for all the wrong reasons); and don’t forget your phone charger and perhaps even international adaptors.
The most powerful weapon in your employ, meanwhile, is your business card. Leave home without this and you’ll probably end up known as “that guy who used a napkin as his business card” by the end of the conference.
5. Go Social
Join the conversation about the conference on social media while you’re there. Reach out to speakers and compliment them for their sessions; tag the people you hope to meet there, and post and tweet about the whole event using the conference’s hashtag. Even after the conference has come to an end, you can follow up with the people you’ve met by connecting with them on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – don’t forget to accompany your friend request with a brief message reminding them who you are!
See Also: How to Set up a Successful Conference
Can you think of any other useful tips that you should consider for your next conference? Let us know in the comments section below!