Today, primarily due to technological advancements and innovation, the business landscape is continuously evolving. Therefore, to keep up with new demands and increase the chances of climbing the corporate ladder, professionals must keep up with such developments and learn the relevant skills. Attending professional conferences can help, and the following conference planning checklist can make sure you end up at the right place.
To become more competitive, many professionals take additional short courses. Though such courses are an excellent way of acquiring new skills, they do not give you a clear indication of what’s really going on in the industry. An effective way of achieving this is by attending professional conferences. Such events are beneficial for your career in the following ways:
- Platform to network with professionals, vendors, and potential clients
- Gain more knowledge about the industry and innovations
- They inspire and challenge you to achieve more
However, drawing value from conferences is not just about attending. The effort you put into selecting the conference to attend determines how much you benefit from such events. Read on to find a detailed conference planning checklist for attendees.
1. Do a Thorough Assessment of the Conference
There are a plethora of conferences that take place every year. Each conference is suitable for a specific group of professionals, and all have unique objectives. Once you have decided to attend a conference, choose one that is relevant to your profession and present career objectives. For this, you will need to assess the conference’s agenda, and the theme is the perfect place to start.
Delve deeper and find out who the key speaker(s) for the event will be. Watch videos of some of their previous talks to understand their style and gauge what they have to offer.
2. Pick Your Sessions
Depending on the size of the conference, you may be required to pick particular sessions to attend. This is because large events have multiple tracks running simultaneously. In addition, there is also so much information that you can consume in a day. Therefore, check the schedule and identify when different sessions and speakers will be.
This will ensure you attend the most suitable sessions for you and that you are at full capacity to learn and interact.
3. Embrace the ‘Social’ in Social Media
Despite the general perception of social media, such platforms are an invaluable tool for professionals. Therefore, if you are still stuck in the dark ages, it’s time to create social media pages on platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter, and then join niche groups for your industry. This is another way of keeping up with goings-on in the industry and upcoming events.
For your event, make sure you follow the presenters. They are likely to post updates about the event as well as insider information and offers for followers.
4. Get the Event App
Conferences, especially the large multi-day, events can be a bit chaotic, and getting information during the event is challenging. To ensure attendees have an easier time getting information and navigating, event planners are now adopting the use of apps. Downloading such event apps has the following benefits:
- Access to all the scheduled sessions, floor plans, and notes
- You will receive notifications and updates on the fly
- Allows you to engage directly with speakers
- You can rate speakers
Also, downloading the app may earn you special discounts, and other rewards from event sponsors.
5. Make Sure You Get All the Discounts and Benefits
Attending conferences comes with financial costs for the event, travel, and accommodation, as well as sacrificing time from your busy schedule. Therefore, on top of the knowledge you will gain, it is important to draw as much value as possible. This means shopping for event-related discounts and promotions.
Most events offer discounted rates for the early bird ticket buyers. This is usually accompanied by ticket giveaways on their social media pages, website, and application. Therefore, once you have identified an ideal conference to attend, take the necessary steps immediately so that you can access all the benefits.
6. Ask Questions
One of the main things attendees have on their conference planning checklist is assessing the speakers. Although an engaging speaker makes the event lively, the audience plays a significant role in this too. Questions from the audience bring different perspectives into discussions, thus making it more exciting. Unfortunately, most attendees leave this role to fellow attendees.
Do some research based on the theme before the event and prepare some questions.
7. Engage With Speakers After Sessions
Though speakers usually have a question and answer session, there are only so many questions they can answer from you and the group as a whole. If you do not get a chance to ask your question or need further insight, reach out to the speaker after the session.
Generally, speakers are keen to interact and help their audience as much as they can. You can even request their email address just in case more questions pop up in your mind later.
8. Make Sure You Have All the Downloadable Content After the Event
There is a lot of information that is delivered during conferences. Not unless you are an Einstein of sorts, you cannot commit it all to memory, and spending the whole duration of the conference taking notes negates its purpose.
To help with this, event planners now share session slide decks and other materials post-conference.
Take Advantage of Virtual Conferences
During the summer, there are usually plenty of conferences to choose from. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing regulations physically attending a conference may not be possible. This does not mean you cannot attend conferences and listen to your favorite speakers and industry trailblazers. Use this conference planning checklist for virtual events the same way you would for an in-person one.
Ascent Conference is a fully immersive and virtual event that allows B2B and SaaS professionals to connect with executives of the world’s fastest-growing companies. Register today to reserve your slot.