Attending a conference?
Great – I travel to and attend a half dozen every year.
That being said – I have noticed a lot of men (and women) seem to attend a conference “half-way”.
What do I mean by this?
I mean they don't show up prepared – they don't show up to get everything they can out of their experience.
This is a problem.
Many of us spend thousands of dollars traveling, staying at hotels, buying tickets and food to attend these events.
Why waste that money by showing up unprepared?
Let's fix the problem!
In this article I give you 5 tips you can use right now that will better prepare you for your next conference.
Conference Tip 1 – Craft Your Elevator Pitch
During your adult life you're going to meet a great deal of people.
First impressions are important and good things can only come from perfecting your elevator pitch.
I mentioned this in previous videos but it bears repeating – you should aim to be remembered and referable.
You want people to look at your business card in a networking event and know exactly who gave it to them.
Do this by explaining what you do in terms of how you solve a problem and why it's relevant to the person you're speaking with. DO NOT RATTLE ON – be careful of being the guy who talks for 5 minutes straight.
Your elevator pitch should be 20-60 seconds long and make you memorable and referable (notice I hit on this again)!
Keep in mind that you want to have multiple versions of your pitch so you can act on your feet and change it up depending who you're speaking with.
Conference Tip 2 – Dress Sharp
I'm sure you saw this one coming 🙂
The question you are probably asking yourself now is HOW does dressing sharp at a conference benefit you?
- Sends a Signal of Authority – Look important and you are assumed to BE IMPORTANT. The easiest way to look important is to where your clothing with style and walk with confidence like you own the place. Do this and you'll notice people wanting to speak with you and ask you questions. A much better option than being ignored!
- Opportunities Present Themselves – Opportunities seem to seek out people who dress well. Plus, you don't want to be in a situation where you can't act on an opportunity given you're not dressed the part of a speaker or spur of the moment dinner guest.
- Respect – When you dress well, you send signals of respect to others. By showing respect through the clothes you wear, more likely others will open up to you and engage in meaningful conversation.
Conference Tip 3 – Have a Packing List
Ever went to an important event and realized with increasing dread that you forgot something?
Minimize the risk of forgetting a crucial detail by having a packing list as it will save you both time and money.
There was a time I forgot my charger en-route to a conference. I had to go jump on Amazon and spend an additional thirty-dollars on an item I already had. Talk about frustrating!
Having a packing list is great as you will avoid the headache that comes with forgetting things such as business cards and other essential items.
Download this list and adjust to your particular needs – better yet take that modified link and laminate and attach to your bag so you have it ever time you start to get ready for a conference.
Conference Tip 4 – Research People
If you want to gain a competitive advantage over other people in a conference, here is a little tip.
Research people who will be attending the conference. I can assure you that most men don't do this.
I find the following 2 tips the best when researching people prior to a conference.
- Online Profile Research – Speakers at conferences have their online presence. Take some time and listen to their podcasts, read their blogs, and watch their videos. Even better – find their interviews and spend a few hours learning about why they are a great contact for you to make. When you speak with them – you can mention a few key points you learned from them
- Reach Out To The Speakers BEFORE the Event – Speakers enjoy helping others, especially when people genuinely want to use their information. The issue with conferences is they are overwhelmed with requests for their time. Circumnavigate this by connecting when they have more downtime (such as 2 weeks before the event!) so your face-to-face meeting can be more meaningful.
Conference Tip 5 – Schedule & Prioritize
Prioritizing your time is critical in staying a step ahead.
Use your dead time (eating a meal alone, on the airplane, find a time to do this!) to plan and schedule where you want to go and who you want to speak with at the conference.
You don't have to stick to the schedule but having it mapped out will provide some structure.
Remember – the plan is nothing but planning is everything!
Another tip that has worked well for me is to arrive one day early and stay one day late. Create “Margin” – the space between events that gives us time to breathe.
“Margin” gives you a buffer to handle any mishaps along the way and provide you “make up time” to take on the day-to-day things you missed from the conference.
In conclusion – conferences are a great way to build your social and professional network along with improving your communication skills. Take the extra time to prepare and you'll reap rewards that far outweigh the preparation costs.
Want to learn more?