Businessmen have their own opinions.
Regardless of your field, everyone can benefit from a professional conference. These large, multi-day gatherings are the perfect opportunity to attend seminars, learn about where your industry is going, and perhaps most importantly, network with others in your area.
However, if you're new to attending industry conferences, you may not know how to make the most of the limited time you have for one. The truth is, not everyone leaves the conference with the same opportunities created by the game plan. So, in this article, you'll find five ways to make the most of the marketing, networking, and personal and professional development opportunities that a professional conference offers you.
1. Make a plan
The first step you should take is to make a plan for yourself well in advance of the conference. Without a doubt, a week-long conference in a big hotel can seem quite confusing and intimidating. After all, how do you really know where to go, what workshops to attend, who to talk to, and where to catch people during the hustle and bustle of a convention?
This is where planning comes in handy. Take the time to research the conference agenda in advance, participate in online pre-conference discussions, and learn more about the speakers and other attendees you can interact with. This kind of planning will save you a lot of time in the long run.
2. Attend networking events and mixers after hours.
This tip is for sharing professional online conferences, perhaps one of the most important parts. Conferences that take place over several days often include some social mixers or meetings for attendees in the evenings. These are great opportunities to meet and network with others in your industry.
Be sure to bring business cards to hand out, or if you're an author, give away a few free copies of your book. This book can serve as your calling card for professional events like these mixers. An autograph book in the hands of potential clients, employees, or influencers you want to work with is light years away from another business card that most people might lose or forget anyway. A book means people will remember you.
Still, even if you don't have a book to hand out, these networking mixers are the perfect way to pass the time at your next conference.
Related: How Networking Is Important to Successful Entrepreneurship
3. Walk through the corridors
A third tip to remember to get the most out of the conference is to spend time wandering the corridors outside of the seminar rooms. Workshops and Q&As take place at the conference, but they have a structure that requires propriety. You will sit respectfully and listen to what the speakers have to say.
However, you will unexpectedly meet people in the corridors, have impromptu conversations, make business deals and establish cooperation for the future. It may seem difficult to plan this for yourself. After all, meeting other visitors in the corridors can seem like a coincidence. In fact, there are things you can do to guide you toward certain hallway meetings, from following the hashtags or social media posts of certain attendees to monitoring what others are doing outside of work hours.
At professional conferences, it's important to remember that the learning happens in the seminar rooms and the magic happens in the hallways.
Related: How My Goal of Meeting 2 New People a Day Completely Changed My Life
4. Participation in practical classes and seminars
You should definitely make time to attend the seminars and workshops offered at your conference, and there are two strategies you can use here. On the one hand, you should attend seminars on topics that you are not familiar with, but about which you would like to learn more. Alternatively, take the time to attend seminars on topics you already teach or practice yourself.
This is because other people in your field may have different life experiences that give them a perspective on your topic that you may have never considered before. Maybe these speakers are saying something simpler or more concise than you've ever said before. Their unique insights may bring out something in you and inspire you to teach your subject in their style from now on.
It's not about stealing someone else's style. It's about seeing if another person in your field has something to say that will bring into your consciousness a grain of wisdom from your unconscious bank of knowledge. That way you can start using it actively and become more competitive.
About the topic. The best entrepreneurs are experts in personal development. Here's how to master this skill.
5. Be flexible
Finally, you want to be flexible with your schedule for these conferences. As already mentioned, you need to plan your participation in the conference, but at the same time you need to be prepared that the schedule can change at any time. You may not make it to the seminar you were planning to attend, either because of a minor confusion or because you had such a long and emotional conversation with someone you met in the hallway that you missed it.
That's good! Either way, it's best to go together because that's how the best personal relationships are made.
Conferences can contribute to your personal and professional growth
Whether you're an industry veteran or just starting out, conferences in your market can be of great help in your personal and professional development. From expert seminars to impromptu hallway networking, conferences can be the key to unlocking a new level of growth for you. Make sure you get the most out of your companion.