Yeah, it’s a list. Judge away.
Why are you going to a conference?
Either you’re interested in learning something new or maybe rubbing elbows with thought leaders. Could be you’re looking for a target-rich environment. Even if TPTB sent you against your will or you just wanted out of the office – whatever your reason for going to a seminar or conference – if you want results, you’ll need to work for it.
After enjoying the first ever Solo PR Summit, then lurking SoSlam on Twitter last week, it occurred to me the things I’ve done right – and (many more) wrong – at conferences. Here’s what we can all do better:
- Have a plan. There’s no reason to miss a connection or breakout session. Read up on the schedule, the events, the speakers and plan ahead. Tip: Make friends (See: Get Social) to divide the breakouts, so you don’t miss the good stuff.
- Be prepared. A pocket full of business cards isn’t enough. You’ll also want your iPad or laptop and smartphone. Think keyboards, power cords, battery backs. Your elevator speech – reword, refine, rehearse – and own it.
- Get Social. Even if not a ‘social media’ event, being social will still be part of it.
- Search speakers, key attendees and see where they are social. It’s not stalking, it’s networking.
- Reach out and connect on LinkedIn before; follow up after the event.
- Create a Twitter lists and/or a Google+ circles so you can start following speakers and attendees before the event.
- Don’t play the home game. You made the effort, paid the fees, broke out your business casual best to be there in person; it’s not the time to act the wallflower – make it count. Take notes, ask questions, hell.. answer questions, participate, get involved.
- Share Smarter. Bookmark, download, save links and slides – to share later. Remember those notes? Use them for your own blog posts, presentations and other rich content that you customize for your organization, your audience. Tweet the event. Bonus list-within-a-list: 3 tips for better live tweeting:
- During the event, use the tools. If Tweet Chat is down, try a mix of TweetGrid, HootSuite or even plain old Twitter to follow the hashtag and your lists.
- Attribute! If someone is saying something worth sharing, give them their props. I tweeted that during my lurk of SoSlam because there were a lot of good soundbites, but I had no idea who actually said them. Drove me batty.
- Engage. Don’t ignore the audience playing along at home. If you’re sharing all these great tweets to your followers and they engage, give them the same courtesy.
Tell me what I missed. What’s the best thing you did to get the most from a seminar or conference?