Getting the Most out of an Industry Conference
Whatever industry you are in, there are always conferences you are invited to attend: whether on industry specifics or on marketing, salesmanship, personnel, or general business practices. When you’ve been invited to attend a conference wherever it may be there are a few guidelines that will help you get the most out of the experience.
First, before the conference do your homework and learn as much as you can. Learn about the location, whether it be the conference center Boston or the local hotel meeting room around the corner. Be prepared for the environment you will be in. Learn about the speakers. Who is the keynote speaker and what topic will he or she be addressing? Who are the other invited attendees? Do you have co-workers you will be attending with or will you be on your own? Knowing these details will help you plan for what you will find at the conference. If there are several classes or workshops being offered, do some research and decide which are the best fit and will offer you the most knowledge you can apply at work.
Once at the conference, take the plan you have and fine tune it. You may need to be flexible if there have been last minute changes in classes or speakers. While in the classes or workshops take lots of notes that you can refer to after the conference. Make time for networking with other attendees. Remember you may actually learn as much or more from conversations between conference sessions or classes as you do in the sessions themselves. Enjoy socializing in the evenings, but never let it get out of control. You should never stay out so late or drink so much that it affects your performance the next day. Remember that you are a representative not only of yourself but your company while at the conference.
After the conference is over and you’ve returned to work, you should follow-up with yourself and others. When you first return to the office take some time to go over any notes you made, specifically look at any commitments you made with other attendees or business contacts. If you have noted ideas you think would benefit your company write them out in detail so that you can present them to the appropriate person within the company. You gain the most from the conference by following up on everything you learned while there.
In the end, whether the conference is a few hours or a few days, you can make the most of it by being prepared, paying attention and focusing on what you want to take away from it and then following up on the ideas and plans you’ve made while there. When you learn the art of doing this you will find that conferences can be a great way to re-energize yourself and your workforce.