An entrepreneur’s guide to maximising conference time (in 4 easy steps!)Sanjana Ray
For entrepreneurs, networking is the key to becoming a known face in the industry. And what better way to reach out to all the important names than at a conference?
Conferences work for the ambitious entrepreneur and business manager alike. It’s the place where you meet a score of investors as well as potential individuals to add to your team. To put it simply, it’s the hub of networking, and a second passed without jotting down relevant notes or securing professional relationships is an opportunity wasted.
To that end, it is important to practise the tricks of the trade before flashing your business cards. While enough has been written about the kind of conversation, dressing, and body language required to make an impression whilst networking, here’s a list of tips on how you can maximise on your conference time and ensure that you take away a priceless experience.
Build on potential relationships before-hand
A conference is a busy time for all who attend it. So if you’re banking on reaching out to individuals in the sporadic few minutes you get between sessions, then chances are that you’ll be going back empty-handed. For fruitful interactions, you need to research and figure out the itinerary of the who’s who of your industry. This includes figuring out the list of speakers on the different days and reaching out to the co-ordinators for each of these sessions to help them initiate an introduction with the right people. It also helps in having established contacts at the venue (usually the company representatives) who can give you more information regarding whom to approach.
Have a pre-defined game plan
While ‘winging it’ has been the norm for some of the world’s finest leaders, it doesn’t always have a 100 percent success rate. As mentioned earlier, the limited few minutes that speakers, sponsors, and other entrepreneurs have between sessions will be filled to the brim from the second they step out of the auditorium, due to the influx of countless others trying to flag them down for the same purposes. Hence, you should always brainstorm with your team about the best way to divide and conquer. Assign each member the responsibility to attend, cover, and reach out to the events most suitable to their specialities so that no person has to run between two different sessions simultaneously. The latter will always lead to missed content and incomplete take-backs.
Pen down your takeaway from each session
While networking remains the primary objective of most conferences, especially ones that pertain to entrepreneurship, it is also equally important to sit still and listen to what the various speakers are actually saying. A single astonishing idea that they throw out could be the theme to your next big project! Opinion-based talks and debates could provide you with the pros and cons to the very next step you have planned. Whatever be the situation, these individuals have been chosen to dominate the podium because they have knowledge which will only help you in the longer run. So before rushing off to the next sponsor with your business card in hand, note down the priceless advice that is being offered to you from the very front.
Connect with the speakers
In line with the aforementioned, we would advise you to also attempt to connect with the speakers themselves. Not only do they have significant experience, advice and practical knowledge, they also contain the keys to an empire beyond the one they are representing. As an entrepreneur, you are bound to understand that leadership comes with knowing the right people and convincing them to work effectively together in the future. Hence, these speakers or business leaders are the catalysts to building a business, because they can help you in the realms of both contacts and revenue, which will help you turn the key to your company’s collective engine.
As the great scientist and philosopher Francis Bacon once said, “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.”