We recently jetted off to attend both QuickBooks Connect in Canada and Xerocon in Austin, making it another eventful week for the AutoEntry team. Like many organisations, our diary is jam packed with conferences throughout the year, both at home and away. And as a frequent exhibitor, we find these occasions extremely useful, in terms of meeting up with customers and by making valuable new connections. But as an attendee and with so much to do on the day, how can you make the most of your time?
Plan ahead. It may sound obvious, but be realistic regarding your workload and make a schedule in advance. You’ll want enough time to devote to priority tasks and any important business meetings without feeling rushed on the day. When scheduling appointments, and with often thousands of people in attendance, don’t leave anything to chance. Reach out to the contact ahead of time to block out their time, swap mobile numbers, and suggest meeting in an easy to find location.
Stay connected. Bringing your phone/laptop/tablet? Don’t forget your charger(s). Power sockets are often coveted commodities at large conference venues, so also bring your devices fully charged where possible.
Be selective about which sessions you attend. There will be many seminars and workshops to choose from, often led by interesting industry speakers which can divide your attention. However, keep your objectives in mind and evaluate which talks to attend based on the learnings you hope to glean from them.
Get social. Communicating via social media is a great way to engage both with the event organisers, its speakers, and your target audience. Posts with images and videos often gain greater traction, and you can also tweet quotes from keynote speakers, using the official event hashtag for optimum visibility.
Make the most of networking sessions. There may be several occasions for networking, either planned or informal, so don’t miss out. With the volume of like-minded people in attendance, events are a key time to grow your professional network, so try to fit in as many meaningful conversations as possible.
Make an actions list. Take clear notes so that you can brief colleagues back in the office on the highlights. As the representative of your firm, it will be your job to extract the maximum value from your time there and communicate any relevant messaging. This will also be useful when remembering any actions or follow up calls you may need to make afterwards.