If you are looking for an opportunity to rub elbows with key influencers in your industry and build a networking community of like-minded, bright professionals, consider attending an industry conference, prepared, the right way. This doesn’t mean stocking up on new pens and stationary; this means doing your research, preparing your objectives and updating your contact information and online touch points. Attending a conference without proper preparation is a missed networking opportunity.
As you prepare your list of 2015 marketing conferences and determine which conferences to attend, keep these networking tips in mind:
1. Define your Conference Goals
Before you sign up for any conferences, determine what you’d like to learn and how you’d like to grow professionally. Consider these common goals and find the conference that meets your professional needs:
- Learning new skills, hands on
- Hearing from industry experts
- Case studies
- Networking with peers
- Networking with potential customers
- Exhibiting opportunities
- Speaking opportunities
2. Get To Know The Event and Attendees
Find out if the event has a #hashtag and see who else is attending. This can help you network and identify key influencers to ‘bump’ into. In addition, it might be worthwhile to explore social media channels or apps that may be tied to the event. Many events take advantage of mobile apps, like WooChat, which uses beacon technology to allow attendees to browse nearby attendees and make in-person connections. It also might be wise to check out LinkedIn groups connected to the event to get to know the faces of other attendees and to get the conversation started, before the event even kicks off.
3. Find Out About Networking Events
Most conferences have a breakfast, lunch or happy hour networking session, so be sure to keep the babysitter long enough to attend.
4. Order New Business Cards
Never attend a conference without an ample supply of business cards.
5. Dress to Impress
Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Be sure you look good, feel good and are dressed to make a great first impression.
6. Update Your Online Profiles
Be prepared to see a spike in profile views after any conference, especially if you have been networking. Make sure your LinkedIn, Twitter or other social media profiles are up-to-date with the kind of information that will connect with key influencers.
7. Prep Your Tech
Make sure you come prepared with chargers and all of the device accessories you may need at the conference to plug-in a stay engaged on social media.
8. Record Sessions or Take Detailed Notes
If you can record sessions, great, if not, take detailed notes that include action-items you can apply in your field of work.
9. Follow Up
If you met some key influencers or identified new client prospects, make sure you follow up after the conference in a timely manner. Networking is only as good as your ability to keep the conversation going.
What best practices do you follow before you attend a conference?
If you are looking for an upcoming marketing conference, consider Experience Inbound Wisconsin; a conference that will give sales and marketing professionals the opportunity to learn strategies with highly actionable instruction that is guaranteed to help businesses grow. The event is in collaboration with HubSpot, Google, Relevance.com and other leading technology companies.