Getting the Most Out of Conferences and Trade Shows

Sharon Boyd has nearly 25 years of experience between both the healthcare and marketing industries. In addition to being an RDH and content writing expert, she also holds a degree in business. Her responsibilities primarily include tackling the communication barriers between small business owners or healthcare providers and their prospective clientele.

Getting the Most Out of Conferences and Trade Shows

Conferences and trade shows are great ways to learn about new technologies, sharpen your skills, curate new business prospects, and make valuable connections with other leaders in your industry.

But how can you enjoy these takeaways without getting overwhelmed?

These tips will help you to get the most out of your next professional networking event.

1. Get organized in advance. Being prepared will boost your confidence and reduce anxiety. Get plenty of rest the night before a big event. Allow yourself plenty of time to arrive safely and on time for your planned sessions. Give yourself ample opportunity to get oriented with the layout of the site and locate the bathrooms and nearest exits.

Create a checklist of the items you want to pack which may include: notepads, pens, highlighters, chargers for your electronic devices, a power strip, hand sanitizer, breath mints, and a packet of business cards to hand out.

When you’re well-prepared, you’ll be able to focus on learning while at a conference or trade show.

2. Know what to expect. Have a plan to avoid aimlessly wandering around the conference site. Decide in advance what your goals are for the event. Do you want to participate in a workshop? Listen to a certain speaker? Connect with other professionals? Promote a revolutionary idea? Rub elbows with certain people? Hand out a specific number of business cards?

Find out as much about the event as possible before you go. This is especially helpful if you’ll be attending for the first time. Download digital programs, schedules and readouts to review in advance. Highlight areas that interest you and have some questions ready to ask of others at the event. You likely won’t be able to see, hear, and do everything that’s offered at the conference or workshop, so scanning over the scheduled events will help you strategically select the features that suit your needs best.

3. Make yourself visible. If possible, find some way to get involved in an upcoming industry event by volunteering or offering to contribute a presentation. This will help you stand out in a sea of your peers and improve your chances of interacting with people who can be valuable additions to your professional network.

Growing your network may, in fact, but the most valuable takeaway of attending conferences or trade shows. Don’t take for granted the golden opportunity to mingle with other people in your industry who are passionate and skilled in what they do. Take the initiative to socialize with others and make those connections. Even if you tend to be a bit of an introvert, set realistic expectations for you to make new connections in a comfortable manner.

4. Take brief, clear notes. If you try to capture all of the points you hear at a conference, you’ll retain very little information. Aim to write just a few key takeaways from each presentation along with actionable steps or questions that you’d like to follow up on.

5. Apply what you learn. Share with your team what you’ve learned from a professional event. Use the information as inspiration for web content. Follow up on the valuable connections you’ve made by reaching out to your new network and letting them know that you enjoyed meeting them.