Many industries are rife with new developments at every turn, and if you're in such an industry, then it makes complete sense for you to know as much as you can about what's happening, so you're ‘in the know.' One way you can do this would be to join groups on social media and attend networking events, but if you want to learn a lot – and perhaps impart some of your wisdom as well, not to mention meet potential clients, investors, and the like – then you should attend a conference. A conference is a big deal, and it gives you the perfect opportunity to connect with other players in your industry. But if you're taking the time to go to a conference, you should maximise your participation. You want your time and effort to be well-spent. Here's what you can do to maximise your participation at a trade show or conference for your industry.
Familiarise yourself with the event
When it comes to joining a conference or trade show, it's best to familiarise yourself with the event, who will give a talk, where those talks will be, and so on. Find out about the key speakers and tailor your schedule according to the time of their talks. You should also get familiar with the actual conference area or space, so you know how to get around. After all, you're there to garner as much information as you can, so it doesn't pay to get lost.
Try to find out who’s attending
While it's vital for you to know who's giving a speech or talk, it's also important to know who else is attending. Who knows, it may be your chance to meet some individuals whom you've wanted to meet for some time. Conferences are all about networking and meeting potential prospects or even just re-connecting with your old or regular customers. Most of the conferences today will have a Facebook page or Twitter hashtag, so keep track of these, so you know what's going on and who is attending. If you are keen on meeting some prospects at the event, why not send a message to them in advance? Let them know you will be there and if you can, arrange a meeting with them as well.
Don’t forget your ‘out of office’ response
Of course, when you are at a conference, it doesn't mean that you can't still connect with your clients and colleagues via the Internet. But even if you are planning to check your emails while you're at the conference, it's still a good idea to set up an ‘out of office' response, so people will know where you are and will not hold it against you if they don't receive a prompt response. It's an excellent way to let clients know about the event, too.
Make sure to bring the necessities
There are many things you could bring to a conference or trade show, but some things are essential. These include your laptop and phone (and those precious chargers!), a bunch of business cards, demonstration tools and materials such as brochures, booklets, and leaflets as well as A5 presentation folders where you can place various data sheets and brochures for potential clients, and other essential demo tools.
Another necessity at a conference or trade show is nice clothing. It pays to look sharp at a conference or trade show, and even if there is no dress code, make sure you look professional. The clothes you wear make a difference, and if you want to make a good impression, choose your outfits wisely.
Published by Zachary McGavin