It’s conference season again, and you’ve got at least one on your calendar, right?
For small businesses, conference attendance can be no small investment, both in terms of the cost of travel and conference fees, as well as the time away from the office.
If you’re going to make it worthwhile for your career and your business, you have to be smart, efficient, and savvy.
We wrangled up some great articles on how to make attendance at your next conference a big win.
We’ll start the roundup with the No. 1 reason most people attend conferences: Networking. And even though it’s the main reason we go, it also happens to be one of the most difficult parts of the game to master; the difficulty rating goes up to double black diamond for introverts.
The Harvard Business Review offers some excellent advice on networking tactics for overcoming those feelings of shyness, that are all too common to most of us, not just introverts.
If you can have one weapon in your conference arsenal, the elevator pitch is the one to have. It can mean the difference between idle chitchat over a beer and adding one more hot new lead to your calendar. This article offers some super great advice on how to create and deliver your pitch, but it didn’t quite emphasize one important factor that I’d like to add here: Practice. You’ve got to practice your pitch if you want to nail it when it counts. Practice a lot. After all, practice makes perfect, as seen below.
Yes, when you’re at a conference it means that you’re away from your office, your clients, and your business. But it doesn’t mean you’ve checked out. You know that the conference is a big value added for your small business, so rather than let it happen in a vacuum, you can share that value with your social network: your colleagues at the office, your clients, and all your business connections.
This article by Zillow offers awesome tips on how to rock social media in the conference zone. Trust us: if you’re not in real estate, you can swap out on a nearly 1-to-1 basis the term “real estate” with your industry name and you’ll get the full value of the article.
When the conference has ended and you’re racing to make your flight back home, it can be tempting to turn your thoughts to all the things that happened while you were away and slip back into your routine without having properly digested your time at the conference. This article will help you create a post-conference action plan. If you have one ready to go, you can block out time to execute it before life takes over.
Haven’t quite filled out your calendar for 2016?
This post by our own Ellis Freidman lines up this year’s top conferences for entrepreneurs.
Pro Tip: The Web Summit: it’s been called “the best technology conference on the planet,” and it’s being held in Lisbon. In November. Maybe plan to tack on a vacation day for this one.
If you’re looking for a conference to attend, check out ICON, March 2–4.