Each year, across every industry, there are numerous tradeshows, conferences, seminars and meetings that can help you run your business. When you attend an event related to your area of expertise, you get opportunities to communicate with nationally known leaders of your profession; meet colleagues you recognize by reputation, through industry articles and case studies; and often, by accessing a new environment, you feel energized, reconnected and ready to implement change. But once you determine which events to attend, based on your goals and objectives, how do you maximize your time at each?
Before you arrive, make sure you prepare yourself to get the most value from your experience:
One: Read the agenda and select the sessions that will be most likely to improve your skills and help you “stretch” beyond your comfort zone by dabbling in topics you have not yet mastered.
Two: Seek out a professional colleague to become your event buddy; so you can share and discuss what you’ve learned. Collaboration brings special benefits when you talk about presentations that only one of you attended.
Three: Stay for the entire event. You never know what good information you might miss by arriving late or leaving early.
Four: Stay at the event’s designated hotel. You need to be where you can network most effectively and where you can use your time wisely; i.e. don’t spend a half hour in a cab or shuttle every morning and evening and miss portions of the event.
Five: Become an active participant, asking questions and making comments. The more you put into any event, the more you will get out of it.
BONUS: Seek out and meet those who served on the event planning committee. They deserve your feedback – positive or negative. And when you thank them, you will definitely stand out as one of the few who did.
Also: The trade-show portion of any conference provides extraordinary value. Not only is it an excellent opportunity to save money on “Show Specials,” but visiting the booths and vendors is also invaluable. Prepare for this part of any event by checking with your staff and bringing their questions with you. Have the vendors address everything on your list and find out what’s new/what can benefit your business. Remember, your vendors want to work with you to succeed.
Plan ahead for next year and consider registering for Consult YHN’s Convention, February 19-22, 2014 in Dallas, TX. Register now and be entered to win prizes in our early registration program. Click here to register today!