Make the most out of attending a conference

May 4, 2012
Make the most out of attending a conference

Attending a conference can be a great opportunity to network – if you come prepared and focus on making good use of your time.

You can make valuable business contacts, learn about your industry and just meet interesting people.

There is also the chance to embarrass yourself and discourage any other attendees who may interested in working at your company.

Most events wind up falling somewhere between the two extremes, but with only a little extra effort, you could considerably raise your rate of conference success. It's all about staying focused and using your time well.

In his blog Both Sides of the Table, entrepreneur Mark Suster explains that the most important part of having productive conference experiences is to be selective in choosing events. Being gone from the office for days at a time is bad for productivity. It's best to pick out only the most interesting or important events, prepare carefully and then focus on using your time well while you're there.

It's critical to plan out your schedule and set meetings in advance. The major advantage of attending conferences is that so many potentially valuable contacts will be in one place at the same time. If you want to have a meeting with a particular person then you should schedule one.

One good idea that isn't obvious to everyone is to spend a while hanging out in the lobby, rather than spending all your time taking meticulous notes on every single panel discussion. It's easy to meet people while milling around in the lobby and you may even be able to get in a word with someone who you wouldn't have been able to meet otherwise.

For executives who still don't feel like they are getting much out of their networking efforts, it might be time to consider hiring a firm of professional recruiters. This can be especially useful if your company needs to fill high-level positions. Working with a top-quality executive search firm holds distinct advantages. Conducting a financial professional search can be complex and time-consuming. Outsourcing to a recruiting firm frees up core staff to focus on their main responsibilities and has the added benefit that professional recruiters bring their hiring experience to the table, giving you the best chance to find the right candidate.

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