How to Get the Most Out of a Conference
The marketing conference season is in full swing and your employer has invited you to attend a conference on their behalf. Maybe you’re presenting, maybe there’s an expert that you’ve always wanted to see, or maybe you’re just starting out and feel it’ll boost your knowledge of the industry?
Use this break from the office to your professional advantage with our practical guide on how to get the most out of a conference. No matter what stage of your career you have reached, events and conferences are vital for keeping up with digital marketing news.
1. Consider Buying a Premium Pass
Start as you mean to go on by investing in a premium pass, which will provide you with full access to talks, workshops and other events at the conference. You can even receive priority booking to make absolutely certain you don’t miss the most popular talks. This is essential when benchmark names in your industry are scheduled to speak. Sometimes you will get exclusive access to the conference presentations once the event is over too.
2. Download the Mobile App
Not all conferences have a mobile app, but if they do make sure you download it in advance. This will help you to navigate the venue on the day, as well as allowing you to identify where you can go to get food during the breaks.
3. Bring the Right Equipment
Technology plays a key part of conferences in the digital age. Bring an extra phone battery and some portable chargers, as well as your standard laptop, mobile and tablet chargers. You will want to remain focused on the conference, rather than missing insights because you were worrying about your battery ebbing away before you could take pictures of a speaker or get those essential notes down on your laptop.
4. Take Notes
Make notes during each presentation, so that you can refer back to the key takeaways after the conference. Plan your method beforehand: which tools are you going to use and what is the purpose of your note taking? Are you writing a blog post about the event later?
Bring a laptop to record information quickly and to visit any websites referenced during the talk. This will help you to understand and frame the points of the speaker, before you forget them after a long day of talks. Log into social media and alert your followers to anything important that is happening at the conference. Most importantly, don’t forget to label your notes with headers so that it’s easy to sort back through them.
5. Question the Speakers
Another great way of getting the most out of conference talks is to ask questions at the end. Be critical of the presenter, without coming across as negative. Challenge their ideas, or ask them for more information about an area of interest. Speakers generally welcome questions from the audience, so don’t be shy about raising your hand.
6. Attend Different Sessions
If your employer has sent several of you to the conference, maximise attendance by going to sessions that your colleagues are not joining. This broadens the range of insights acquired and also reinforces your networking. In the long run, you’ll be helping your employer to achieve their business goals. Select top talks and workshops in advance to save time on the day.
7. Take Part in the Conversation
Conferences normally have their own hashtag created just for the event, which attendees can use to spark discussion on social media channels. Take a look at the conversation that’s taking place before, during and after the event to see what others are saying, and get involved. Why not volunteer to send a few tweets or Facebook posts from your company’s social accounts on the day?
You can connect with others who are attending the event and identify people who are adding expert opinion to a hot topic. It’s also easy to identify the key areas of debate in your industry. Remember to update your social media profiles before you go, so that you give a professional impression.
8. Share Your Newfound Knowledge
Your company sent you to the conference to gather and analyse information on their behalf. Make sure you share your digital marketing notes with the wider team at the office, or write up a blog post. We did a great one about Brighton SEO in April! This could very well inspire your next big collective idea.
Visiting a conference will provide you with new insights and new contacts, but you have to be prepared. Set some goals in advance that highlight what you want to get out of the conference, and use our guide to help you along the way. Oh and just one more thing: whatever your reasons for attending the conference, don’t forget to enjoy the show!