Our EMEA Alliance manager – Lesley Putnam has put together some tips to make the most of industry conferences

Networking is an important tool to enhance the profile of your brand and there is no better setting than an industry conference to maximize your networking potential. Our Regional Alliance Manager EMEA, Lesley Putnam, has put together some tips for making the most out of industry conferences.

Failure to prepare is preparing to fail!

  • Do your research: Make sure you are attending the right conference for your business needs to ensure that you get the most out it. Research the location, venue, agenda and sessions offered at the conference. Investigate transport links too. Leave nothing to chance. If you’re unsure of any point, contact the conference organisers to verify.
  • Be strategic: Identify the organizations, clients and partners that you wish to meet. Contact them and schedule meetings before the conference. There are automated meeting planner systems that can be used but be careful about invitations from companies that are not a priority for you.
  • Be prepared: Make sure you have appropriate attire for the variety of different events. Some have a more social theme, but most will require business attire. Prepare all documents or reports necessary for scheduled meetings well in advance.  
  • Plan to succeed: set yourself some personal objectives as well as business objectives. Ask yourself what you intend to gain from the conference. This will help structure your interactions and activities. It will also give you a benchmark to assess your progress at the end of the conference.

During the conference:

  • Ensure you schedule daily personal time. It is useful to take some time at the start of each day of the conference to revise strategy for that day. As the conference progresses this allows you to adapt your approach.
  • Keep meetings to appropriate and scheduled times. Ensure you arrive on time and finish on time. It is tempting to extend a meeting, but this will have an impact on your schedule and should only be done in unique situations. Sticking to the agreed time will keep you on track to attend events and to make the most out of the conference.
  • Keep energy levels high by eating properly and staying hydrated.
  • Allow for some free networking time when you can mingle without an agenda and meet other industry professionals.
  • Conferences are usually action packed and a whirlwind of activity. Make sure you get enough rest each evening to be able to keep up to the demands of the conference. You will be less productive if you don’t have enough rest.
  • Don’t miss out on presentations and talks, they are essential for identifying industry trends.

After the event:

  • Follow up on action points agreed on during scheduled meetings.
  • Send feedback to the organisers, be honest when you fill out the surveys.
  • Review the objectives set before conference to assess progress.
  • Follow up on new contacts made and keep in touch.
  • Share useful knowledge gained with colleagues who did not attend conference.