Conferences can be very productive and entertaining or totally overwhelming and based on these factors. The investment in time, travel and energy required to attend conferences makes it important to prepare before you go.
State of mind, attitude, energy
It is important to fix your weaknesses, to complete tasks, finish projects and reach deadlines so that you get off to a good start. Focus on the future of the event, meet people and be positive and accessible. Read positive and motivational content to keep you positive. Your state of mind and heart will prepare you to have a great time. Smile, be nice, and be polite.
Documents, schedules, meetings
- Collect all your travel documents, flight number and flight schedule and make sure they are all accessible. Get a good idea of your needs and your travel experience. There are several travel apps that you can use to organize this on your smartphone, in addition, there are apps that provide city guides and connectivity apps to engage with people and conference sessions. All this is very useful and pretty easy.
Meet specific people
- The purpose of attending certain conferences is to meet colleagues, listen to speaker, and see people who influence you. On the other hand, people may be there to meet you too. Believe in yourself, know your background and have current projects on hand to talk about.
Cards, documents, branding
- Keep a simple, but branded, up-to-date business card with your contact information and logo. Business cards are a marketing tool. Be sure to prepare your “professional brand statement” when someone asks, “what are you doing” a phrase that opens the door and offers them something to remember.
Social media strategy
- Regardless of why you attended a conference you should have a social media strategy in place. Use LinkedIn to connect to people you know. Use Twitter and Google+ to talk about people you’ve met and share a link to their work or website. Use Facebook to post great photos and videos of you in action and of your experience.
Content Marketing Plan
- What are the content marketing platforms and tools you are best aware of and have the most activities and results for? Use your website to highlight people you have worked with and projects you are working on. Take many pictures of some of these “specific people” you’ve met and a few short videos on Google+, YouTube, and Facebook. Use your social media strategically on the platforms used by participants and moderators.
Technology, cables, batteries
- Make a complete list of all your technologies, chargers, cables, and batteries, and make sure you have everything you need to capture and share your experience. Pay attention to the battery life of the various devices you use, and make sure you recharge them if you see them bending over so you do not miss anything. Most conferences now have charging stations and power plants.
Opening Questions, Conversation Starters
- Prepare questions or statements that can build a personal connection. Is this your first time at this conference? What was your favorite meal in the last year? What is your biggest success so far this year?