As I am preparing for my attendance to the CoachVille’s Third Annual Coaching Conference, I have been considering how I can make the most of my conference attendance. These ten tips will support you in leveraging those conference you will attend in the future and for creating an unforgettable experience!
1. Connect, connect, connect!
Some of the most valuable time spent at a conference can be the time you spend in conversation with others outside of the speaker presentations/breakout sessions. Make a commitment to schedule one breakfast and one lunch meeting each day with someone you want to get to know, and make a plan to connect with these men and women following the closing of the conference.
One of the best ways to get to know others both inside and outside of your industry is to volunteer 1 hour each day for the conference production team. This time can create a sense of connection and a feeling of self confidence and accomplishment for both you and the conference team.
3. Host an Open House.
At the end of the day, most conference goers are ready for a little rest and relaxtion. Rent a small room inside the conference center, or if the conference is being hosted inside a hotel, open your hotel room for a small late afternoon tea or early evening cocktail party. Invite everyone you see, and have a blast!
4. Ask Great Questions!
Make your conference experience engaging and memorable by making the most of this opportunity to learn. Spend time talking to the speakers, book authors, vendors, and those you are meeting, and ask, ask, ask. Request recommendations for books, resources, or contact names which will support the growth of your business. Talk to others about new directions developing in your field and find out about emerging leaders who you may want to partner with in the future. By becoming an active participant, you will be surprised at all that you learn and how your life will be enhanced.
5. Scout for Talent.
Are you looking for a new business partner, employee, product developer, or author for your business? If so, spend time talking to folks to find out as much as possible about their talents, gifts, and strengths. Keep a little black book or palm pilot with you in order to capture important details about people you may want to contact in the future for a special project or event.
6. Attend the Conference on Behalf of Your Clients.
For clients who are too busy to attend a conference, you can offer to attend a conference in their place. You will want to have the company pick up the cost for attending the conference, and it is a great time to market for your client and to market your services at the same time. Keep detailed notes during the conference, and collect product information which you feel will benefit the lives of your clients. This is a wonderful way to add value for your clients/customers.
7. Open a Conference Blog.
Through a service such as TypePad, you can develop an online journal or diary for sharing your experiences during the conference with the public at large. This is a wonderful way to let other professionals and your readers know that you are devoted to continuing education and professional improvement.
8. Gift an Article, Abstract, or Special Report.
Prior to the conference, take the time to write an article of interest, abstract, or special report which is relevant to your industry. As you meet people and exchange business cards, request permission to send the article or report following the conference and then FOLLOW UP! Add a personal note of thanks, and use this opportunity to build rapport with others. This one gesture can support you in growing your database and in developing rock solid relationships for the future of your business.
9. Schedule Time Each Day to Organize Your Thoughts.
Attending speaker sessions, networking, and being on all day can be exhausting and can create a feeling of mental clutter. Spend 30 minutes at the end of each day to absory what you have learned, organize your thoughts in a notebook, and to prepare for the next day. Make a punch list of sessions to attend, people to meet, and vendors to visit, and hit the ground running the next day to really go for it!
10. Work the Vendor Floor
The majority of conferences will host an exposition or vendor fair, which allows companies the opportunity to display their latest product and service offerings. You may choose to host a vendor booth or to split the booth with other vendors who compliment your services. If you are unable to host a booth, make the most of the vendor fair by “working it” (networking, connecting, and having your eyes and ears open.) This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about current trends in your industry and to create contacts with others who are connected to your field. Spend time talking with as many vendors as possible, and connect, connect, connect.