October 18, 2017
As wedding season begins to wind down, wedding and event educational conferences are starting. I have been attending conferences for years and have found them to be very beneficial to the growth of my business. Since I’m a “forever student,” the educational content is oimportant to me. However, I also find that the relationships that I build through networking have proven invaluable to me.
For me, I get more out of the conference if I prepare for the conference before I leave. Conferences are often a huge investment of our resources and time, so I want to make sure that I enjoy the experience and get a return on my investment. Over the years, I have learned some tips for getting the most out of my conference attendance and I am sharing five of these tips with you.
(1) TAKE PLENTY OF BUSINESS CARDS – I know that may sound elementary to you, but very often people forget their business cards or run out of cards before the end of the conference. I find that writing a quick note about the person on the back of their card helps me to remember them when I get back to my office. Following the conference, I always like to follow-up with the people I have met.
(2) DETERMINE THE SESSIONS YOU WANT TO ATTEND IN ADVANCE — If the conference has breakout sessions, I find that it works to my advantage to determine which sessions I want to attend. Some sessions are more popular than others and I want to make sure that I can get in. If I wait until the last minute to figure out where I want to go, I risk not getting into that session.
(3) TAKE PLENTY OF NOTES — There is so much to learn when attending a conference so it is wise to take notes. I have found that it’s more efficient for me to take notes in an organized manner so I use Evernote. There are other apps that you can use such as One Note, Notability, and more. Using my digital device to take notes eliminate the need to transfer written notes into digital notes that can be categorized. When I used to take notes by hand, I would usually end up never using them because I never put them in an organized format that I could easily find when needed.
(4) CONNECT WITH THE SPEAKERS — At many of the conferences, the speakers will remain after their presentation to respond to additional questions and to meet conference attendees. Don’t be shy to meet the speakers or to let the speaker know that you enjoyed the presentation. They will love the feedback.
(5) MEET NEW PEOPLE, BUILD NEW RELATIONSHIPS — I’m an introvert and it is so easy for me to find comfort in hanging out at a conference with people that I know. However, when I learned to step out of my comfort zone and meet new people, I began building invaluable relationships with people all around the world.