In today’s hyper-connected business world you might think that conferencing has lost its value. In fact the truth is quite the opposite: Meeting people live is more important than ever before. That’s why there’s big value in attending the right conferences.
Here’s my six-part guide to getting the most for your conferencing money:
Set goals for what you want to get out of the conference: Do you want to generate leads? Close deals? Collect information for a new business strategy? Find new partners? Study the competition? Become famous in the industry? All of these are valid goals and your goal could even be all of the above. A conference is a great place to do all of this.
Study the companies and people coming to the conference: It may not be possible to get an attendees list but you can always find out whom the speakers and companies attending are. Find out what these companies do and what makes them tick, what their goals are, and what their challenges may be. They could be your next client or partner.
Find out precisely whom you want to meet: Meeting people is probably the most important thing you can do at a conference. Some people think business is about products. I think business is about people. Study the conference program and make a list of the people you want to meet. It doesn’t matter if they’re speakers or delegates. If you’re genuinely interested in what they do, they will certainly want to meet you.
Make yourself known: Make yourself accessible to others by getting involved in discussions and debates. The best way to do this is to stand up, introduce yourself, and ask questions of speakers and panelists. People will notice and grab you during the break. This is really a great opportunity to attract new partners and clients – even some you had no idea existed.
Get ready to be inspired: Well-organised and well-managed conferences attract like-minded people. When like-minded people get together, rare and remarkable things happen. Be open to new inspiration, new ideas, and new connections. Be ready to reshape your ideas. Be ready to connect with the people who can transform your views and your business.
Smile: You may find this is ridiculous advice but I promise you that it works. In fact I recommend that you right now order your $8 copy of Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’. This is likely the most useful business book you will ever read. Read it on the way to the conference. In fact, don’t just read it – study it. Then apply it at the conference.
And by the way – don’t forget to have some fun while doing all of this!
If you happen to be in the Wi-Fi industry (as I am) don’t miss the opportunity to put all of this into practice at the Wi-Fi Innovation Summit in Copenhagen on December 9-10. I’ll see you all there