Bullseye have also found that while huge 3-4 days events will still take place in the future, many businesses are opting for smaller 1 day conferences. They are taking a more ‘big-picture’ approach – encouraging attendees to start interacting before the event, organizing meet-ups during the event and building communities to stay engaged after the event.
Even though technology will always play a part, regardless of the size of the event, it is the smaller events that are putting their smart phones and live tweeting aside to fully be present at their sessions.
So how do you make the most out of the conference you are attending?
- Join pre-conference online groups and start making connections before you arrive.
- Have a list of all the people you want to connect with, and make an effort to connect with them. Whether you have paid to attend or your company has, you will only get out of it what you put in. Some conferences send out a list of attendees beforehand so be sure to look for that and know who you want to meet.
- Know what sessions you want to attend. Don’t book yourself solid without leaving room for networking.
- Get involved. If you want to stand out, offer to volunteer or even help with organizing.
- If you use LinkedIn, sent invites to connect with people as you meet them. With the in-built LinkedIn CRM system, you can make notes about each person individually (so you don’t forget where you met them or what you talked about) and tag them. After the conference you can send follow-up messages so you build the relationship and stay top of mind.
- After the event stay in touch with your new contacts. Form an online group or organize regular Skype calls or Google Hangouts and deepen that relationship even further.