Six Tactics to Increase the ROI of Attending Conferences

entrepreneurshipNetworkingPersonal Branding

Give Business Card photo from ShutterstockWhether you’re a business professional or entrepreneur, there’s a good chance you’ll benefit from attending a conference. Trade shows, annual conventions and industry meetings are a great way to attract clients and network for future job opportunities.

Do you want to get the very best ROI possible when attending industry events?

Six Tips for Getting The Most Out of Conferences

  1. Have a goal in mind before signing up. Why do you want to attend the event? Are you networking for job opportunities or to meet potential clients? Know exactly who you want to meet (name or exact titles and companies). Check the event website as many publish attendee names/title/companies prior to the event for registered attendees. Create a list.
  2. Start following the event hashtag on Twitter at least 30 days before the start of the conference. Start tweeting the organization putting on the event. If any of the desired contacts on your list (from item #1 above) are tweeting using the hashtag, start dialogue with them. If they are first time attendees, offer suggestions and/or to be their conference buddy.
  3. Make appointments prior to the event. This can be informal. Make plans to meet up with those desired connections you’ve been tweeting. Get the skinny on VIP events and purchase extra tickets, offering them to those contacts you’ve identified as desirable.
  4. Focus on listening versus talking. Don’t try to sell new contacts on your services, abilities, anything. Take precious time to collect as much information as you can on desired contacts. Record this information on the back of their business cards, in your mobile device, etc. at your very first opportunity after each encounter.
  5. Use tools like Evernote to immediately scan cards of new contacts and connect with them on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn Contacts to schedule follow-up tasks with each contact.
  6. Send a hand-written card following up with each desired contact within three business days. Include a small gift card (no more than $10), news article or trinket that directly relates to something they mentioned when speaking with you.