Five tips for making the most of a business conference
Do you like to travel and meet new people? Then chances are that you’ll enjoy business conferences. However, these types of events are about more than just having a good time — they can help you advance your career. Keep the following five tips in mind to make the most of a business conference.
- Enhance your visibility. As Kate C. Farrar points out in her article “10 Ways to Make the Most Out of a Conference” for The Muse, you can leverage conferences to showcase your expertise on a specific subject. Check before the conference to see if there are openings for presenters or speakers, and if so, prepare a presentation on a subject you feel qualified to speak about at length. Remember: By playing a visible role, you can set yourself apart from the crowd in this manner.
- Select sessions that are meaningful to you. There are likely to be a wide range of different presentations, talks, and workshops during the event — and it’s often impossible to attend all of them. Select the ones that pertain most to your area of interest, and at the end of each day, spend some time entering notes about what you’ve learned.
- Take part in the online conversation. In her HubSpot article titled “18 Helpful Tips for Getting the Most Out of an Industry Conference,” Leslie Ye advises that it’s smart to participate in conversations about the event on social media. Most events have a dedicated hashtag, so you can follow what other people are saying, give your own impressions, and even interact with people you haven’t yet met in person.
- Don’t overuse your smartphone. Although it’s perfectly fine to use your phone now and then, don’t be so absorbed in it that it deters other people from reaching out to you. Instead, keep your phone in your bag, and only check it once per hour or two hours, as this will make you more approachable.
- Attend networking sessions. Dedicated networking sessions are great for meeting new people — both peers and customers. Make sure you have both digital and hardcopy business cards to offer people, and collect the contact details of everyone you meet. Then after the conference, spend a couple of hours following up with those people on LinkedIn.
When you know how to make the most of business conferences, attending them can help you move your career forwards. So prepare properly, make sure you’re well rested, and use your time wisely during the event.