Every year, conferences are held across industries that bring people in their respective spaces together. Our list of “18 Things To Do Before A Conference” is useful to individuals going as attendees or speakers.
- The best way to start off is to check the schedule of events and mark off the sessions you want to attend. If the conference has an app, you may be able to push session reminders to your phone. Based on what the session is about, write a few potential questions to ask in advance.
- Check via Google Blogsearch for any references to the event. This may pull up any press release announcements, which may be beneficial for staying in the loop on new products, mergers or partnerships. It’s always useful to do your homework.
- Check Twitter Search for anyone tweeting about the event you’re attending. You can then determine if you want to follow them on social to start conversations ahead of the event.
- Conference agendas usually provide a list of moderators and panels ahead of the show. Write out a few facts about the companies and people you are looking to meet.
- Visit conference sponsors business blogs and Twitter streams for ideas of what they are doing. Look for gaps in their business and service models that you could potentially fill. Think of social media as free intelligence research.
- Look up LinkedIn contacts you have that may live in the city you are visiting for the conference. If there is anyone you have wanted to talk to, it may be a good idea to invite them for coffee, or for the after-conference dinners that usually take place.
- Consider putting up a few blog posts before the conference so that you don’t have to worry about writing on deadline at the event.
- Write some of your best work in the days leading up to the conference, especially if you’re launching something new. The likelihood of people checking out your blog during or before an event is high.
- Consider writing posts that may help you form conversations at the event. For instance, if you’re looking to work with a particular company, write a blog post about how you service their industry, and how you can help put them in front of their prospective clients.
- Promote your content on social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Don’t forget to use the conference hashtags. You can either email the conference promoters about which hashtags they plan to use ahead of time or look for them on content they have already published on Twitter.
- If you’re thinking of live tweeting the event, prepare ahead of time, and get buy-in from anyone you know who is already attending. The more people you can get to participate ahead of time the more your reach increases.
- If you take photos at the event, make sure you are in most of them. It’s one thing to say you were at the event, it’s another thing for people to see you at the event.
- Write about people you know who may be at the event that you hope to connect with. Write about what you may want to talk with them about. When we attend events, we like to find ways we can write about the event hosts, sponsors or both. Sometimes, you can even tie several sponsors in together if they have formed any strategic partnerships or alliances.
Things to Consider Before and During a Conference
- Order fresh business cards. If you’re in a hurry use an online service and have your cards sent to you. Make your name and logo font large, and list your preferred method of contact directly underneath it.
- Pack appropriately, and be prepared. Some conferences have charging stations for when your mobile phone runs out of battery. If you have a mobile charging stick, take it with you. Conference attendees walk around calling and messaging- so plan on using your mobile phone 10x more than you usually do.
- Get your pitch ready if you have something to promote. We prep several different pitches: standard, 30-words, 60-words, and a 140-word description of what we do. These descriptions should be telling of what you do, and if effective, leaves the door open for the person you are speaking with to ask pertinent questions.
- Not being able to connect with someone at an event is probable. There are always missed opportunities, even when the event hosts go out of their way to provide networking sessions. Take the opportunity to reach out to people after everyone has gone home.
Stay connected to your family. Set alerts, so you remember to call them in-between panels or after break-out sessions. Skype with them if possible, and make sure they feel they play a part in your success. They are, after all, the reason you are there.
Head of Product, Invested Media
Erin is a partner at Invested Media, and manages product on the client-side. She wears many hats on the development, content, and marketing end, and leads teams through tactical plan implementation. A handful of the biggest companies in Fintech use her work.