How to Make the Most Of In Person Conferences

How to Make the Most of In-Person Conferences

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Posted on April 26, 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly changed almost every aspect of life, especially people’s working environment. Distance working became the new norm, with Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet becoming the new conference rooms. 

Most work conferences have been taking place online over the past two years. However, many offices have returned to in-person and hybrid models, meaning that meetings and conventions occur online and offline. So, businesses should be ready to handle both formats.

If you want to focus on in-person conferences but need help knowing where to start, you are in the right place. In today’s article, we will walk you through some valuable tips on leveraging the power of offline conferences.

5 Benefits of In-Person Conferences

Even though the “virtual meeting” has become a good alternative, nothing can replace live conferences. Below are five reasons to attend in-person conferences relevant to your business.

  1. More Friendly Environment

Indeed, it is true that due to Covid-19, all interesting and fun events went online. However, people are bored because everything is online. While the online setting has many advantages, it has disadvantages too. People are fed up with these limitations.

This is why people feel the need to communicate with one another in a friendly atmosphere. People still want to attend face-to-face conferences as they allow them to have deep and fun interactions with others. Face-to-face conferences can also boost employee engagement, allowing them to network with colleagues, exchange knowledge and ideas, and gain new perspectives. Such interactions allow everyone to establish long-lasting relations and bonds. 

  1. More Opportunities for Sales 

Live conferences provide people with more sales opportunities. Business owners attending in-person conferences have a great chance to connect with their prospects, which can lead to gaining valuable business opportunities. 

  1. Networking With Others in Your Field

Another advantage of attending live conferences is networking with people in your field. An in-person event allows you to share knowledge with colleagues, form strategic relations, and reunite with old friends.

While these activities can still be carried out at a virtual gathering, face-to-face interaction is required to build deeper bonds with people.

Networking is not merely confined to the conference attendees. Attending an in-person conference, you can interact with presenters, sponsors, and other related people. You can ask questions, hear different viewpoints, and learn about new industry trends specific to your industry, such as new commercial security camera technologies. Such informal communication can be incredibly beneficial.

  1. Brand Building

In-person industry events provide an excellent opportunity for marketers to drive brand awareness and present new products/services to attendees. Businesses can use display booths in the exhibit hall, interact with prospects, generate leads from visitors, and increase awareness around their brands.

Sometimes, staff members become presenters and engage in discussions with visitors. This allows them to promote their companies and enable others to learn more about their brands. If you want to promote your brand and deliver your brand message to larger audiences, presenting at significant in-person conferences can effectively convey that message.

  1. Learning the Competition

Whether you’re there as a conference participant, an exhibitor, or a sponsor, you have an excellent opportunity to meet your competitors in person and learn about their business strategy, marketing, client retention, customer loyalty, and so on. They may not reveal all of their secrets, but business leaders understand that sharing knowledge can benefit both parties in the appropriate atmosphere.

13 Tips for Making the Most Out Of In-Person Conferences

Now that you know how important live industry events like conferences are, it is time to dive into critical ways to get the most out of in-person conferences. Let’s start!

  1. Prepare in Advance 

Preparing ahead is essential when it comes to attending conferences. When so many people and activities take place in a short period, it is always better to have a concise plan to stick to and accomplish all your goals on the list. 

So, to get started, think about why you will attend an event: What is your goal? What do you hope to gain from this experience? Who do you want to meet? 

Ensure to review the agenda of the conference in advance. Write down what and who you want to see. You can do this using a note-taking app, too, as long as it is convenient. This way, you will stay on track and ensure you get the most out of the event.

  1. Check Out the Conference Venue Map

Interestingly, only a few people do this.

Before you attend, checking out the conference venue lets you not stress out about the event. When you know where strictly you should go, you will avoid running around, searching desperately for the nearest restroom. You don’t want this. So, look at the space, as it will allow you to feel more relaxed and concentrate on learning and making new connections. 

Learning where things also mean you can assist others unfamiliar with the venue. If someone is looking for a particular place, you can be helpful. This is also a great way to connect with people.

  1. Take a More Visible Role

Increasing your visibility is a fantastic way to make the most of your conference experience. One way to do this is to take more visible roles, including a presenter or a volunteer. So, whenever you come up with conference opportunities, contact the organizers to see if they have these options available.

When you are just an attendee, it is harder to get noticed by people. However, if you take on a visible role, standing out in the crowd will be much easier. 

  1. Put Away All Your Gadgets

Hands off the phones!

You’re at a conference to have face-to-face communication with others. Your electronic devices can become a massive barrier to interacting with people. Stop checking the inbox or chatting with someone. Focus on getting to know more people. 

If you don’t want to disconnect fully, use the smartphone only when you need it. Other than that, use every opportunity to strike up conversations with attendees.

  1. Prepare an Elevator Pitch

When participating in live conferences, make sure to prepare an elevator pitch. First, you will be asked, “What do you do?” So, you need to ensure you have a proper answer.

A good elevator pitch is clear, evokes emotions, and gives essential information quickly. 

It would help if you said what you do using simple words. If you still need to prepare an elevator pitch, you can look at others to understand how they respond to this question.

  1. Bring Your Conference Merchandise

Bringing company merchandise to conferences can be a highly effective marketing tool for businesses. This approach helps to increase brand visibility and create a lasting impression on potential customers. By providing branded items such as t-shirts, pens, or tote bags, businesses can positively associate their brand with the conference attendees. In addition, providing these items as freebies can help to draw more people to the company’s booth and generate more leads. Bringing company merchandise to conferences is a cost-effective way to enhance brand recognition and promote the business to a broader audience.

  1. Use Conversation Starters

It seems strange to script conversations. However, it is always better to prepare some essential conversation starters rather than sitting in the corner quietly and needing to learn how to start conversations with people.

Below are a few actionable conversation starters you can use when going to in-person conferences:

  • What thoughts do you have about the previous speaker?
  •  Why did you decide to come?
  •  How did you learn about the event?
  •  What sessions are you planning to go to? [name of session] seems interesting.
  1. Get to Know More People

Conferences are excellent places to meet people in your field. As among these people could be your potential customers or colleagues, creating meaningful connections with them is critical.

You can also have a few business cards to make your meeting with someone memorable. They may want to collaborate with you in the future. So, if you meet the best type of writer that is a good fit for your company or someone else, exchange business cards to share contact information and stay in touch. 

  1. Take Part in the Right Sessions

You probably want to avoid making decisions on the conference day. If you have specific goals in mind, selecting the breakout sessions that are most interesting to you should be relatively straightforward.

So, take your time to check out the agenda and choose the sessions you think would benefit you the most.

  1. Talk to the Organizers

The conference organizers are great and, sometimes, underestimated people. If you have the chance, connect with them, as they will big l probably have some valuable tips to share. 

An organizer can: 

  • Find things at the conference
  •  Introduce you to other participants they already know
  •  Recommend speakers and sessions to take part in
  1.  Have a Lunch With People

Lunch may be the most convenient time to meet new people.

During lunchtime or the short breaks, you can approach a table starting to fill up and ask, “Do you mind if I join you?” You can sit and start conversations with them if they don’t mind. 

However, make sure to ask only a few questions. After all, they want to relax and enjoy their food. So, avoid being too talkative and prepare questions you think are worth asking.

  1.  Take Notes of What You Learn

Since there are many speakers and sessions during the in-person conferences, you will likely only remember some things when you return home. Organizing your notes and information is the best solution. You can easily access it when you return home or office. 

Regardless of what note-taking method you like the most (pen and paper, laptop, tablet, smartphone), write down the three essential takeaways and any follow-up you wish to do on the topic or with the presenters at the end of each session you attend. This will help refresh your memory and enable you to understand what tasks you must complete after the event.

  1.  Don’t Forget to Follow-Up

Follow up once you meet interesting people and exchange business cards or socials. If you believe these connections are essential for your career, sending a message after a few days is necessary.

First, you can thank them for the warm conversation you had. Then, you can arrange a phone conversation or in-person meeting with anyone you wish to do business with or nurture a connection with.

Summary

Even though many events had to “relocate: online due to Covid-19, the importance of live conferences has remained the same. Today, people have a choice to choose between online and offline formats.

Participating in conferences might be one of the best decisions you can make for your career. It will allow you to get to know the latest industry trends, acquire new skills, gain new knowledge and connect with many interesting people. 

The author Diana Aghumyan is an experienced creative SEO content writer at SayNine. She is passionate about writing and giving value to people with her articles. Her blogs revolve around advertising, digital marketing, and other similar topics.

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