So, you’ve decided to attend a business conference. These types of work trips can certainly be intimidating at first. However, attending these events can be one of the best things you can do for your career. They are the perfect place to gain new knowledge regarding your industry and connect with like-minded professionals passionate about the same things as you are. A little preparation before (and some work after, too!) will ensure you get the most out of your next conference.
Ensure your travel and accommodations are stress-free
As soon as you know you’ll be attending the conference, look into booking your travel and accommodations. If your company uses a travel management firm, they will be able to find you the best deals on flights, rental cars and hotels in the area.
Schedule enough but not too much
Usually, conference websites will post a schedule ahead of time. Take a look at the different sessions and events offered to determine which you’d like to attend. Having a loose schedule is great but don’t overschedule just in case something else comes up. Try to keep evenings free for networking and/or social events with new people you meet.
Research speakers and follow them on social media
Check the conference website for speaker bios and consider connecting with those individuals on social media channels such as Twitter, Linked In and Facebook. Connecting with them in advance will make posting about their sessions on social channels easier when you are at the conference.
Bring your business cards
This is an obvious one but you’d be surprised how often it’s forgotten. Make sure you pack plenty of business cards – in your carry-on, suitcase, wallet and briefcase. You never know when you will run into someone you want to exchange contact information with.
Take notes on business cards
Oftentimes at the end of a conference, you are left with a ton of business cards and no recollection of exactly who each person is or what you talked about. Carry a pen with you and jot down a couple notes on the back of each card you get which will make remembering and following up with those individuals much easier.
Remember key takeaways from each session
It’s going to be tough to remember absolutely every single thing covered at a conference but if you can sum up each session’s learnings into a couple key takeaways and jot them down, you’ll be in good shape.
When you get back to the office, following up with the attendees and/or speakers you met at the conference is a great way to start building a lasting relationship with them. A quick email telling them that you enjoyed meeting them goes a long way.
Apply your new knowledge to your work
The fun doesn’t stop when you get back to the office. Review your notes to see what can be applied to your day-to-day job. Also, consider sharing the new information and insights you have gained with coworkers by shooting them an email with important takeaways or hosting a quick training session.
How do you ensure you are getting the most out of business seminars you attend?
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