9 Key Tips for Making the Most Out of a Business Conference

tips maximize time business conference networking event relationship building

Are you going to a business conference?

Heading to a big event can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. This is a time to talk to new people and promote your business.

With 68% of professionals telling HubSpot that they prefer offline networking, conferences are something that you shouldn't avoid.

So how can you prepare to make the most of your conference visit? There are things you can do to make your trip a more productive one.

Use the nine tips below to make the most use of your time at a conference.


1. Create a Schedule

You should have a clear goal in mind when you attend a conference. Without one, you will only be walking around unsure of what to do.

When you have a goal in mind, you can prepare beforehand, so you do all the right things with your time. This preparation means making a schedule.

Are you going to the conference to become educated, network, or both? You will need to divide your time to make sure you can do everything.

Most conferences have their agendas available well ahead of time, so get a copy and learn about the events. With these, you can find the most important things for your goals and schedule your time accordingly.


2. Pick the Right Sessions to Attend

Conferences usually have a lot of sessions. Some of these happen at the same time, so you need to prioritize the ones that are most important to you.

Also, keep in mind the speakers and attendees of the session. Are there people there that might make useful contacts?

Take time after your sessions to introduce yourself.

Your time is limited, so if a session you decide to attend doesn't feel right to you, don't hesitate to leave. You can make better use of your time socializing or heading to another session that you can benefit from.


3. Share Your Knowledge

The point of a conference is to share knowledge. Don't go to a conference and only take.

When you are talking other attendees, make sure you are contributing to the conversation as well. When you provide value to others, you are showing that you are someone to be counted on.

Also, keep in mind that you are there to represent the business where you are employed. Make sure you can share the knowledge you gain there with your team.


4. Take Notes

It's easy to get wrapped up with what you're doing, but don't forget to keep track of the knowledge you are acquiring.

Take a break now and then to jot down a few notes about things you've heard. This data includes industry and personal information.

There are a lot of apps like Evernote that provide you an easy way to take notes. Just fire up your smartphone and jot down the things you're hearing. 


5. Try to Connect With Speakers

One of the primary goals for your conference should be to connect with people.

It doesn't matter if it's to build the business you're in or if you're looking for a new job. Don't discount the speakers at the event for network connections.

The chances are good that they will be swamped with people who want to talk with them. They are the industry experts, after all.

But make sure you try to make a connection. If the presenters don't have time, try asking for a business card.

This information will allow you to follow up at a later date.


6. Follow Up With Connections

Making connections is pointless if you don't follow up after you meet.

You aren't the only one meeting a lot of people, so it's easy for someone to miss out on the details of your meeting. Try to follow up within 24 hours and remind them about how you met and the things you talked about.

You don't necessarily need to keep in contact daily or weekly, but try to keep up every so often after the event.

If you think you can work together with that person, then make sure you set up a meeting so you can figure out how you can help each other.


7. Find Events After the Conference

The official conference events aren't the only place you can meet people. For your conference experience to be a success, you need to try to take advantage of as many of these social events as possible.

As you are talking with people throughout the day, try to learn what events are happening after hours.

These are often more relaxed atmospheres. They can be a better setting to get to know people and make new friends.


8. See If You Can Present

Do you have anything of value to add? If you think you can add something new to the event, see if there is a way for you to hold a presentation.

Doing this not only provides you a new way to network but also presents you as an expert in your industry.


9. Keep Your Health Up

It's easy to get caught up in an event and forget to take care of yourself. You want to do as much as you can, so why not sacrifice a bit of sleep and your diet?

This lack of care causes problems when it ruins your focus and ability to connect.

The conference hotel should have a hotel, so use it.

You can use a catering service to get the food you need.

There are still 16 hours in the day to connect with people, so get eight hours of sleep at night.

The better health you are in during your trip, the better results you will have.


Make the Most of Your Business Conference

Going to a business conference can seem overwhelming. But if you take the time to create a plan, you can reduce your stress and make your time at conferences a success.

Are you looking for more networking tips to help you build business relationships? Head over to our blog to find more posts that can help you build solid relationships.

Bootstrap Business Blog Newest Posts From Mike Schiemer, Guest Posts, & Blog Outreach Services