This is a busy time of year for professional conferences and industry events. Attending events is a great was to refresh and
re-energize yourself for for personal development and to help grow your professional knowledge. As we enter into the season of learning and networking, I surveyed members of the MAU Marketing team that have attended numerous conferences over the years. Here are some tips on making the time spent most valuable.
PRIOR TO THE EVENT
Ali, a Marketing Specialist, recently attended a great digital marketing conference, so she’s fresh with ideas. Her primary tip is to review the event agenda and determine which optional sessions would be most beneficial for you and your team. What topics are of most relevant for your team and your company? Sometimes there is limited availability, so also make sure you sign-up as early as possible.
I will add to that note to download the App if it’s available. Not only will this help you review the agenda, but many times event Apps provide push reminders, event maps, and networking options. You can easily delete it once the event is complete, and event Apps are a huge help while you’re there.
B2B Marketing Specialist, Luis, recommends preparing ahead by establishing the goals you want to achieve. He says, “As critical as it is for a cinematographer to have a solid pre-production strategy, you should work on stating what will be your main purpose of attending the event. That will help you create a strategy around the goal, which in turn will help you to get the most out of that experience.”
AT THE THE EVENT
Eryka, the Recruitment Marketing Manager, has very practical advice: to wear comfortable shoes! Many conferences span a large area, so you have to be able to move quickly across the event to attend the different sessions. It’s okay to sacrifice fashion for comfort. Running in 3-inch heels isn’t much fun!
Both Eryka and I suggest taking notes. The great debate is the method! She prefers capturing notes digitally, because it’s quick and efficient. I like to hand-write notes, because it helps me retain the information better. Research agrees with me, however, Eryka’s right that it is much more time-consuming to compile notes following the event. I actually do somewhat of a hybrid: taking some by hand, downloading presentations and using my phone to take photos of slides, too.
Graphic Design Specialist, Erin, says to keep an open mind for all sessions. Although you may not initially think the topic is completely useful, you may learn something new. “I think it’s really important to make sure to take away themes or certain key points and find way to make them fit with your business, because it’s almost always possible; sometimes you just have to think a little bit outside the box.”
We all agree that events are a tremendous opportunity for networking. Bring plenty of business cards to share, and use the Linkedin App to add them to your connections. Ali adds that you should be come prepared with an ‘elevator speech’ about your company. Be able to quickly and succinctly describe your job and your company.
AFTER THE EVENT:
Compile your notes to distribute to your team and within the organization. This is part of our standard process. Expand the value of the conference past the attendees by distributing the content. As an example, I attended a really useful session last year about managing virtual workers, and I shared the notes with other managers of remote teams.
When you’re back to the daily grind, it can be easy to lose sight of all of the new insight you’ve just obtained. I recommend setting specific follow-up actions for yourself or your team based on the conference notes. If there is a topic or product that piqued your interest at the conference, assign a team member to research it further and present their findings.
Ali provides the reminder to follow-up with all of the new connections. This will help expand your professional network and can lead to additional contacts through those new connections.
As our team is preparing to enter our busy season for conferences and events, we’ll keep these tips top of mind! We hope you find them useful.