Attending conferences can be expensive. Ticket prices in the thousands can easily make you question the value of attending. However, with the reality being that it takes an average of 12 times for someone to be in contact before they become a customer, meeting people in person, attending the right conference can be game changing for you.
I have experienced this 3 times now. By attending 2016 TedX Sydney, 2016 Ausmumpreneur Conference and the 2017 Social Media Marketing World. At every single one of these conferences, I have gained insight, connections and clients.
Each one of these conferences I have approached the same way.
Ask people which conferences they go to
Who do you look to and go ‘wow! they are doing great things in my industry?’ Talk to them. Ask them what conferences do they go to? If you don’t know them personally, email them or reach out in Social Media. Craig Rispin is one of my business mentors. He was also one of the first speakers at TedX Sydney. He also recommended going to Social Media Marketing World.
Do the organisers need help?
If it’s not in your budget to even go to a conference, don’t let this stop you.Apply to be a volunteer. Many large conferences have a call out for volunteers. For logistics conferences typically need a lot of people to run them. Yes you will be working, but consider the immense benefit of meeting many of the people who are attending and speaking. This year I attended the 2017 Social Media Marketing World as a volunteer. The experience, in a word, incredible.
Define What Success Looks Like
I’ve heard many a complaint about conferences being a waste of time and money. I question if they had determined what success for attending looked like. Reasons for attending can vary significantly, however the key is to define what success looks like for you and then set out to achieve it. This level of focus can bring more benefits than you realise. Interestingly for each of these 3 conferences I have defined success as learning new ways to do business. The side benefit that has been unexpected in each case I have gained clients.
Before – Get Connected
So once you have decided to attended a conference, use all resources available to get connected. For all 3 conferences they had an exclusive members only area of their website. Plus Social Media Groups. In all cases I maximised my connections everywhere possible.
During – Be In The Moment
This is interesting, as despite my speciality being using digital tools, I didn’t necessarily use digital tools too often. I aimed to be in the moment and focus building relationships.
After Conferences – Follow Up
In all cases I worked hard at connecting via social media and/or sending emails. The follow up is where I have been able to gain unexpected opportunities to build my business.
There’s no exact science, however I have found by approaching conferences with this logic, I get positive results.
What tips would you add to maximise results from attending conferences?