Monday, October 12, 2015

Tips for maximum conference ROI

I have returned from presenting at another conference. You’ll find my presentations from the event embedded further down in this post or at my Docs.com.

I thought I’d also take a moment to share some techniques and tips I’d recommend you employ when attending a conference to ensure that you get the most from any conference.

1. Remember you are at the conference for business.

It is all well and good to take a step back and enjoy everything that a conference has to offer, the food, the drink, the location, the company, but remember it is all costing your business money. Thus, you should be asking yourself whether you are getting return on investment constantly. This may mean learning something new, meeting a new contact who can help your business, etc. but you need to ensure you GET something in return.

Don’t get caught in the trap of treating the whole event as a party. Don’t get caught in the trap of getting wiped out on the first night and then being unable to attend any of the sessions. Have fun, yes but always ask yourself, what return am I getting for my investment in time and money at the conference.

2. Have a plenty of business cards

Always ensure you have plenty of business cards before leaving for a conference. Every time you go anywhere near the conference venue ensure your pocket if full of business cards and you have an adequate supply elsewhere as a backup.

Don’t be shy handing out your business card as well as receiving cards from others. Every time your strike up a conversation with someone, make sure they leave that conversation with your card.

3. Carry a pen

As only fashioned as it seems having a pen ready and available is till the quickest way of writing notes and capturing information. In my case, I always ensure there is space to write on the back of my business card so I can write a URL or a note and give that to someone. If you don’t have a business card that allows this, carry some blanks cards just in case.

It is easy to say that you’ll send an email follow up, however jotting it down goes a long way to ensuring that you’ll follow through.

Also remember that battery power can be at a premium during conferences and you don’t want to be tethered to a wall and miss out on the hallway conversations. A pen is a great information recording device backup for your phone or tablet when it starts running low on juice.

4. Make yourself available for conversations

There is nothing wrong with waiting in a publically visible but off to the site location. Try and find an area that will accommodate at least one other person and is quieter than the middle of the conference throng.

By doing this you make it more enticing for someone to come up and have a chat with you, especially if they have been looking for a chance to do just that. Being immersed in the conference ‘mosh-pit’ is great and there is always something interesting happening but remember, you are looking to generate the most return for your business not listen to others pontificate constantly.

5. Convert business cards into Linkedin contacts asap

Whenever you get a chance, go through the business cards you have received so far in the day and connect with them on Linkedin. This is firstly a good backup in case you misplace their business card but it also give you deeper insight into that contact and their details thanks to Linkedin. It does likewise for your new contact but also indicates how keen and on the ball you are by making contact electronically shortly after meeting them.

6. Wear the uniform

Many people think that it is extremely boring to wear the same outfit to a conference every day. I purposely ensure I wear that same thing throughout the conference. One of the main things I ensure I do is wear a branded shirt. Why? People respond to consistency, the more consistent you are, in every aspect, the more comfort people derive. Also, if you wear the same thing you make it easier for people to identify you in the crowd if they are looking to seek you out to make contact.

Wearing the ‘uniform’ also reduces the decisions you need to make about packing for the event and dressing on the day. Personally, I don’t want to waste my precious decisions credits on working out what to wear each day, I simply don the uniform and get on with generating ROI for my business.

There are of course plenty more tips I could pass on but these hopefully should provide you some benefit next time you attend an event.

Let me know what you think works when you attend a conference. I’d love to hear.

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