Following up on the article about the Web Summit, we have decided to make a guide for those who are planning to attend a tech conference in 2016. Very often our impression of the event is tainted because we fail to make the most out of it. When you pay $2,000 for the ticket to a big global event, you set your expectations pretty high. And with travel and lodging expenses, your time away from work make it even more costly. And then you think it wasn’t worth it. The problem is, we often choose the wrong event, don’t prepare properly, stay passive during the conference and don’t use the new knowledge and connections when we come back home. We tried to compile a universal list of tips and informative infographics that would be useful for startups, investors, marketers, developers and all the tech addicts.
After you’ve chosen your perfect event, you need to prepare. Here is the checklist of what you need to do before, during and after a tech conference:
Before the event
- Research the event, think which sessions you want to attend, make a list of people you want to meet, first of all, and then create your own conference schedule.
- Update your social profiles before the conference, use conference hashtag when you post about it use it before the event to make contacts network in advance.
- Engage with people you want to meet before the event. Find mutual connections.
- Plan everything a week or two in advance.
- Finish all your tasks and deadlines before going so as to be accessible and not distracted. Plan how to leave your business behind.
- Think about how to use the event in your social media and content marketing strategy. Choose the session topics which resonate with your content and use this knowledge to establish connections with the speakers and attendees, mention them in your content.
- Organize your travel itinerary, documents, etc.
Find the hotel as close to the event as possible, as every 30 minutes of your time is another beneficial meeting or even two.
- Prepare promotional materials such as a poster, flyers, booklets, pens, t-shirts and other small things to give away. You could also prepare an elevator pitch.
- Prepare to introduce yourself in about 30 seconds.
- Think in advance about what you will say about your brand, and how you will present it.
- Bring enough business cards.
- Make sure all your devices are prepared.
- Take care of your looks and sswardrobe, as first impressions are important.
- When you pack, don’t forget about the small practical details that will make this experience more enjoyable, such as mints, power adapter, battery, some cash, comfortable shoes etc.
During the event
- Treat attending the conference professionally, don’t go for goings sake, set your mind on getting the most out of it.
- Make sure you know something about people you network with to start and keep up good conversations.
- Focus on face-to-face communication, put your devices aside. Have a natural interest in others.
- Record sessions, take detailed notes.
- Stay focused and attentive not to miss the best moments for building a connection.
- Interact with as many people as possible.
- Use the conference app to get in touch with people and choose the most relevant sessions.
- Get out of your comfort zone and communicate with people from other disciplines and don’t be afraid to network in circles where you don’t feel safe.
- Exchange contact info during the event.
- Make pictures or a video of yourself at the event.
- Check the conference website regularly for updates, look through their blog.
- Find time to explore the city where the conference takes place.
- Make a trip report during the event, track sessions, classes and booths you’ve visited.
- If you know two people who could benefit from knowing each other, connect them.
- The last day is bad for meetings as everyone’s tired and wants to catch the early flight back home. Plan your most important meetings for the first day.
- Don’t underestimate small events, very often they turn out to be more beneficial.
- Be ready to answer tough questions, be inquisitive and ask questions yourself. Think about thoughtful questions you might ask during Q&A.
- The best connections are made at after-parties.
- Remember that the best experiences will be random and unexpected.
- Be yourself and networking will come naturally.
- Be positive and have fun.
After the event
- Show your colleagues what you’ve learnt when you come back. Use what you’ve learnt during the conference in your work.
- Connect online after meeting in person. Follow up in time, when the memories are still fresh.
- Return again next year to make stronger connections.
- Discuss the event in social media, share your impression to strengthen your connections and to engage with other people in tech who are interested in the event and plan to attend it next year.
People have various reasons for attending the conference, most of us go there to network and find new connections for developing our businesses, many others want to present their product to the world and find their perfect investor, all of us want to get some valuable experience and learn something new. Whatever it is, you need to be well prepared to use it in full, and we hope that our advice will be of some help. If you need more information on the topic or want to share your experience of attending a tech conference, feel free to contact us or discuss the topic on Facebook.