I’ll be going to a big conference this week, on Friday and Saturday! It’s right here in London, which makes at least the logistics very easy for me. No plane rides required. So my topic for today is how to get ready for a business conference.
After all, to make going to a conference worthwhile, there’s a lot of work that goes into getting ready. And so I’d like to share some of the key points of what I’ve been doing – and what I continue to do to make the conference a success! And what I recommend you do when you’re going to a business conference.
1) How to get ready for a business conference: Choose the right conference
The first step of getting ready for a business conference is choosing the right conference. It helps if it is close to home, but that’s not the most important part. Instead, ask yourself whether it will help you with your business goals. Do you want to make new contacts with important people in your industry or with potential customers? Are you planning to find out about the newest developments in your industry?
2) Sign up for the business conference, keeping your goal In mind
Once you’ve decided on the right conference (not necessarily limited to just one, but let’s not overcomplicate this email right now…), sign up for it, as an attendee and/or as a vendor. You’ll have to make some decisions here.
Renting a table or a booth will increase the price of attendance, and it will also require you to have someone to be at your table or booth throughout the conference. In addition, you’ll need various materials and giveaways, plus a banner and/or other branded display materials.
If you go as an attendee without a table, you can circulate, visit others’ tables and exhibits, and collect lots of materials and information. You’re also bound to make contacts.
Of course, you can do both – have a booth AND circulate, just not by yourself. So be sure to bring a staff member for your booth and plan to circulate yourself (and show up at your booth at specific pre-planned times so people who would like to talk with you can easily find you.
3) Preparing for your business conference (making contacts)
Next, you need to decide who you would like to meet and make contact with. Usually, conference websites have a list of exhibitors where you can find out whom you’d like to connect with.
Check out their website and make contact, either by email or through their contact form, or, if that’s not feasible, send them a message on Twitter or Facebook. Then follow up and put them on your schedule for the conference.
4) More preparation (what to bring)
Finally, you need to have some of your own materials handy. These should include some of the following:
- Business cards
- Info brochures (with tips and other useful information)
- Promotional gifts (can include pens, badges, t-shirts, USB sticks, shopping bags, and lots more) (I’ve decided on bringing badges and shopping bags this time)
5) Where to stay
Unless the conference you selected is VERY close to home, you may want to invest in a night or two at the conference hotel. And even IF it’s close to home… This will be useful for several reasons:
- It facilitates networking
- It ensures you’re well-rested (and can even take a break if you need one), which will help you make the most of your conference participation
- It allows you to replenish your supply of promotional gifts and brochures, so you won’t have to carry them with you all at once. Plus, remember that you’ll be collecting lots of brochures and gifts from various exhibitors.
How to get ready for a business conference doesn’t have to be complicated. The above five steps, if you follow them, will help you make your conference much more successful. Next week, I’ll share some more tips including what to do AT the conference, plus information on what worked especially well for me.
If you plan to attend the Franchise Expo too, please let me know. I’d love to meet you there.