The past couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about how to get the money to attend those important conferences. Now, let’s talk about how to make the most of those conferences. Let’s start with preparation before the event.
It’s all about planning. You need to know the five W’s of your conference before you ever go.
|Mark Williams and Bryan Person
at SXSW 2010
- Who do you want to meet? Think customers, partners, competitors, mentors, and vendors.
- Who could you cooperate with?
- Who could send you customers? Who could you send customers for an affiliate offer?
- Who have you talked to several times, and you just need to push it over the edge and get something going with them?
- What do you want to talk to these people about?
- What project are you working on that is too big for you alone?
- What are you wanting to learn? What sessions should you make time for?
- Set meetings up before you go.
- Are there sessions you don’t want to miss? Invite a friend to meet you at a particular session that relates to a project you’re working on.
- Make an index card of your goals for the event.
A couple of other points
- Order some business cards, if you’re in a business card kind of industry. I still use a few (about a dozen) at most big conferences.
- Post something relevant on your blog.
- Post a recent photo of yourself on your blog or Twitter profile. Yes, you. Just do it.
What before-the-conference tips do you have?
Next in the series: make the most of your time at a conference.
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Carl Natale says
Good tips. These will help.
Can I look ahead and offer a tip for when you actually make it to the conference? Pay attention to the questions that people ask – especially in the sessions.
These questions are insights into what your market needs. This is why I often attend sessions that cover subjects I’m very familiar with. I want to know what other people don’t know.
That information helps me choose what to write about and what services to offer. It’s market research.
Again, thank you for the tips.
Becky McCray says
Carl, you absolutely may look ahead. Thanks for that idea. It answers a question Deb Ng and I were discussing yesterday. I’ll be sure to include it next week.
Oscar Gonzalez says
Excellent advise. Its a shame so many people show up unprepared and then they miss so much from each conference. Thanks for sharing.
From a PR standpoint, if you are speaking on a panel:
Is your biography and fact sheet in the press room and online on your website?
Are you able to obtain a list of press attending the conference?
Make sure you have PLENTY of business cards to hand out after your presentation.
Have your twitter handle on your business card if you are active on Twitter.
Be sure to collect business cards from MEDIA in attendance. Make notes of what they require on their card and FOLLOW UP after the show.
Consider adding public relations into your marketing budget.
Becky McCray says
Oscar, it is that unpreparedness that motivated me to write this post.
Nancy, thanks for the PR related items for before, during and after. Also, Nancy, please do not use your business name in place of your real name on your comments here. Thank you.