How to Squeeze the Most Value Out of Your Next Conference/Trade Show/Event

Posted by on Feb 6, 2013 in business card, conference, Event, guides and outfitters, hotel, lanyard, learn, meeting, network, Outdoor recreation, relationship, Research, Trade show | Comments Off on How to Squeeze the Most Value Out of Your Next Conference/Trade Show/Event

by Lindsay Malone

This week is the 2013 CROA/UGO Convention in Grand Junction, Colorado and Becky and I have the privilege to spend the next few days learning and networking with some amazing people. Few things get me as excited as spending a week with a group of complete strangers, attending sessions, wearing spiffy lanyards, schmoozing over local brews and sparking relationships with countless great folks.

Most people will have the opportunity to attend a conference, trade show, convention or large meeting in the course

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of a year, so I decided to share some thoughts and experiences for your next big event…


BEFORE THE SHOW

  1. Do your research.
    Spend time before the show starts going through the agenda and planning your schedule. The show website should have endless details on the sessions, events, vendors, etc.
  2. Plan your goals for the show.
    Make a list of who you want to connect with, outside events you want to attend and anything you want to learn while at the show. 
DURING THE SHOW
  1. Don’t skip sessions.
    This opportunity only comes around once a year (probably) and you want to take advantage of so many people and companies being in one location.
  2. Take a break.
    Don’t feel bad about going back to your hotel room or relaxing at a coffee shop between sessions to recharge. No one can go full speed from 7am until 11pm.
  3. Be open to serendipitous interactions.
    Get to meetings a few minutes early, stay a few minutes after, talk with people in line, engage strangers. You never know who you’ll end up sitting next to or running into.
  4. Don’t rule anyone out.
    No matter your reason for being at a show, make friends with everyone. You never know where relationships will lead, especially when you go into it not looking to get anything from them.
  5. Get cards and follow up. 
    Get a business card from everyone you meet and write on the back any notes about that person, your discussion with them and follow up actions. Make sure you follow up with everyone, even if it’s just to say ‘It was great to meet you.’
    

Have a blast at your next event and if you’re at CROA/UGO this week, stop by and say hello!