For those that work in business, you will understand the importance of networking and conference events, but they’re only beneficial if you take the valuable information that you heard away with you and make the connections you set out to make.
Wyboston Lakes, whose conference centre in Milton Keynes has hosted hundreds of business meetups, have spoken out on the things to do before and after a conference, ensuring you get the most out of your time and money invested.
Leading up to the event
Part of what makes a conference event so successful is the strategic planning that goes into it prior to the day itself. Whether you’re hosting or attending as a delegate, having a rough idea of how the day is going to go including the key people you wish to have discussions with will keep your day structured. This could be a mental list of some of the people in your industry that will be beneficial to your business. Networking face-to-face is a great way of setting up a professional relationship.
If you are hosting, clarify the purpose and the aims in order of importance, so that they’re stuck to throughout. Everything else will fit into the agenda, which is what will land the aims and objectives.
Do your research
Start by checking the schedule of the event. If there are seminar clashes, then decide on which is going to be more beneficial, or even bring a second person from the business if necessary. Checking the layout of the event is another good factor to consider before the day, if it’s a larger event, such as an annual business conference, knowing which rooms are hosting which events will give you the advantage on the day.
Don’t forget social media! Business events are now tech-savvy and coming with them is a dedicated hashtag. Follow it on Twitter and begin conversations with guests to quash any ice breakers, this is especially good for shy people who may take a while to get going, possibly missing key time. Even a quirky tweet from a corporate account can get your businesses name into the minds of the delegates before they arrive by utilising the events hashtag.
Heard of an elevator pitch? With many delegates at an event you’re going to have to not only sum up your role and business purpose, but sell it to them as well in a quick 30 second introduction. Have an idea in mind what you’re going to say so that you don’t fluff up your lines at the crucial moment. At the same time, although it should be short and to the point, it shouldn’t sound too robotic or rehearsed.
For the smaller businesses out there, business cards aren’t seen as an early priority, but they’re a fantastic way to spread the word of your business, and an essential at conference events. You don’t have to litter the cards with lots of unnecessary information, simple contact details, name of organisation as well as job role is sufficient. Either go for less is more in design or make it quirky and stand out!
Following up on connections
Now begins what to do following the event and the most important of these is making contact with the connections you had established whilst there. Within the first three days, the contact is still warm, so you aren’t wasting any time on re-introducing yourself.
It’s worth keeping in mind that the days immediately after an event are most likely going to be a busy time for most, so allow up to a week before expecting to hear back.
Share event documents
For those that are going to be hosting, it’s very important to share the slides from the skills classes and seminars that were held throughout the day. If the event required attendees to provide their emails upon registering, then a simple mass email will go a long way.
It’s also great for those hosting conference events to ask for feedback. A simple questionnaire sent out to the guests could give a lot of statistics and data going into your next event, including what to avoid and what they particularly enjoyed the most.
The more times you attend or host events the more knowledge you will accrue, get out there and start networking!