Business education conferences can be very productive, but they can be a stressful experience if you do not prepare properly.
Attending a conference takes a lot of time, travel and energy, therefore it is vital to be prepared before you go so that you’re not rushing around at the last minute, or when you get there!
Organisation, taking initiative, and acquiring additional knowledge on the business education sector before the event is key when it comes to preparing for a conference. All of these things will massively boost your experience overall. Read on to find out my three top tips on how PRs can effectively prepare for business education conferences.
Review the agenda & find out who’s attending in advance
This may seem simple, but reviewing the agenda is one of the most important things you can do before attending a business education conference. Look at the areas that will be covered, and prepare in advance for these topics so that you can make a more valuable contribution, and address any potential questions you may have.
Additionally, finding out who is attending the conference is just as important as the conference itself. One of the main objectives of going to certain conferences is the chance to meet colleagues, clients, speakers and indeed business schools that you may already follow or work with.
It’s therefore important to do your homework; know peoples backgrounds, their recent activity, books, articles, and research papers they may have written or contributed to, so that you can initiate good conversations and connections.
Of course, there is no harm in Googling people you want to meet before you attend the conference. Visit their blogs, websites, social media and learn as much as you can about them. It would also be incredibly useful to read some of the research papers written by professors from business schools you work with. All of this will be very beneficial long term, and will also allow you to network in advance and connect with potential new clients, as well as impressing your current ones.
A little bit of self-promotion goes a long way
Make sure you take your business cards with you, and remember to hand them out to people when you meet them. When you introduce yourself to someone, a business card will have a lot more meaning after; it’s a simple yet fantastic marketing tool.
Furthermore, another great form of self-promotion is your social media, where you can document the business education conference as you go. Use LinkedIn to connect to people you meet, and use Twitter to tell people who you have met, perhaps even sharing a link to their work or website. Does the conference itself have an official hashtag? If so, use it!
Additionally, you can also use Facebook and Instagram to post pictures and videos of you in action and the experience you are having; this will not only be beneficial for your clients, but also for your colleagues back home so they can keep up to date with your activity!
Ultimately, using your social media strategically and regularly and promoting yourself and your organisation whilst at the conference can have fantastic benefits long term, and will make the efforts of attending the conference all worthwhile.
After the conference, contact the people you met
Although you may be busy, in the week after a conference it is important to follow up with the people you met, and to send them a message via email or on the phone, highlighting some specific things that you talked about whilst at the event.
It’s very important to build on initial relationships, so connect with people you met immediately on LinkedIn and any other social media platforms they may use, with a note about meeting them and about the conference.
It may even be useful to write a blog post or a review about your visit on your own social media or company website, and tag and share it with the people you met. In addition to this, uploading any photos you may have taken whilst at the conference to your social media platforms is another great way to generate engagement and remind people of who you are!
Although they can be stressful and can take a lot of time and effort, if you prepare in advance and organise yourself, the opportunity to meet people in person at a business education conference is invaluable. Be equipped, enjoy yourself, and make the very most of it to make an impression, develop relationships, and of course create new ones!