Are you looking for a chance to mingle with key industry influencers?
If yes, you know where to be – a conference or convention.
You’ll also develop a networking community of intelligent professionals of the same values, goals, and mind. However, it isn’t just about buying a stock of stationery, including pens for the event.
Do your research, develop credible goals, and make sure your contact list and touchpoints online are up-to-date. Failing to prepare for your next business convention is as good as missing a critical networking opportunity.
If you’re nervous about networking or attending your first conference, you may find the preparation experience overwhelming. But, that doesn’t have to be the case, though.
You can experience a smooth preparation process without getting stressed or overwhelmed, and still attend your event prepared. Apart from feeling relaxed, other benefits of preparing early for your conference include:
- Increased chance of productivity and success
- You walk into the event with an intentional approach
- Makes you feel relaxed and prepared
- Increases your confidence
- Helps you find value in even the smallest of experiences
Ranging from planning, your agenda to setting goals, there’s so much you can do to prepare well for your next business convention. Here’re are 6 tips to get you started:
Top 6 Preparation Tips for Your Next Business Conference
1. Develop a feasible, contingency budget
Plan your event meticulously; this goes without saying.
As a businessperson, you don’t have the time to queue in a long line for several hours to register for the convention. Set aside enough funds to ensure the event runs smoothly.
First, create a draft of the overall budget for the conference before it begins. Make sure you include a contingency budget for any surprises.
Even if your car breaks down or a vendor cancels, you’ve got enough funds in your pocket to get back up. This ensures the event goes on as expected, even with unexpected surprises.
2. Develop and write down your event goals
Work on your objective or goals for the event before you begin a meet-up or head out for a happy hour. This helps maximize your actions prior to and while there.
Why do you want to attend the convention? Whom would you like to meet, and what are your expected achievements or goals?
Write down your expected accomplishments and the people you’d like to network with at the event. Use the attendee list to single out the particular individuals you’d like to meet and talk with.
In case you don’t have a list of expected guests, write down the categories of people you want to network with. For instance, you may consider the following groups of people:
- Local media
- Potential customers
- Fellow businessmen with a focus on the same niche as yours
Determine the essence of your goals and why they’re important to you for clarity. Clear goals will help measure your success later.
3. Exercise to relax your body and mind
Doing some exercise a few days before the event would do you good in relaxing your mind. You can join a local gym, workout from your home, or play a favorite game.
For instance, you can play ping pong or table tennis with your friends to burn calories and relax your mind before the convention. Consider buying or hiring a ping pong table if you don’t already have one.
4. Search for potential connections and reach out to them in advance
Find the names of guest speakers and fellow attendees for the event and use it to pick the people you’d want to meet. Do some research on the people on your list to develop a foundation for introductory conversations during the event.
With basic information about your chosen anticipated connections, you’ll optimize the chance of the conversations you initiate being memorable and productive.
Use Google for your search. Check out their LinkedIn pages and find out if they have a business or personal website. Go through their social media profiles and pages to determine what’s important to them.
You may also find out the projects they’re currently working on. With some knowledge about your anticipated contacts’ business and personal lives, you’re on your way to sparking great connections.
Send an email to your contacts in advance before the event begins to let them know of your interest in creating a connection with them. However, if you don’t have particular contact information, use the event’s hashtag to announce your attendance and interest in networking with people of like minds.
If the business convention has a Facebook Group, an app, or any other online community dedicated to it, use it to post an introduction for maximum visibility and reach with other attendees.
5. Choose a suitable outfit
Put your best foot forward with the right business attire. Choose a suitable outfit at least a couple of days before the event. Your dressing will give an impression of your business.
Opt for a clean, well-pressed official outfit in-line with the theme of the event and its location for a professional look. If you are traveling for the event, check the location’s weather forecast to dress for the prevailing conditions.
Consider wearing a removable layer because most event venues put on the air conditioning when many people are in attendance.
What’s more, you’re likely to be tagged on a fellow attendee’s photo on social media. So, it pays to look your best.
6. Develop a strategy for collecting contact information
You’re likely to end up with all kinds of contact information at the business event. They may include:
- Business cards
- Numbers on napkins
- Scribbled names
- Names written on random pages in your notebook
Determine a consistent and organized way to collect contact information for easy follow-ups. Use an envelope to hold the business cards you receive and a single notebook page for writing down other contact information.