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Headed to a Conference? 3 Ways to Take Advantage of the Opportunity

Attending a conference is a valuable opportunity to learn about your industry, hear what’s working for your peers and build relationships with colleagues in the field. With a bit of advance planning and creative thinking, you can make the most of your time and investment at any industry event.

  1. Plan in advance. Doing your research and planning in advance for sessions you want to attend ensures you make the most of your time at the conference and don’t get lost in a confusing conference center. Be sure to read the event schedule and speaker bios. Download the event app and make sure you can arrive on time. It seems simple, but planning ahead gives you brain space to better take in the learning and connections.
  2. Practice how to introduce yourself and make yourself easy to find. When introducing yourself, be clear, confident and brief. A good format is to lead with your name, your role, your company and what you do. If your title isn’t clear, reference what you actually do instead. “I’m in charge of our data team” is easier to understand quickly than “senior analytics lead” in a busy conference setting. Make sure your badge or business card includes your social media handles and contact info, and make sure your LinkedIn is up to date before you go to make post-conference connections as easy as possible.
  3. Take advantage of opportunities outside regular sessions. In addition to speakers and panels, conferences provide opportunities for socializing and connecting off the main expo floor. Check social media to see if any journalists, influencers or analysts you follow will be attending, and ask if there might be an opportunity to introduce yourself while on site. Brands often hold off-site events after hours to celebrate partners and customers, so make sure to let vendor partners know you’ll be attending. In addition to some drink tickets and conference swag, these smaller settings provide a valuable opportunity to build connections that last far beyond one individual event.

By doing a bit of advance research, presenting your best first impression and seeking out all available opportunities, conferences can be a very worthwhile professional investment.

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