Even in this tight economy, there is no shortage of conferences to attend. From pure networking to specific educational events, there are plenty to choose from on any given topic. The question is how do you decide which ones to attend and which ones to pass on, and how to you get the most from your conference investment.
As a speaker and consent learner, I attend lots of conferences, both as a presenter and as a participant.
Through these experiences, I’ve compiled a list of items that have helped me better evaluate a conference before I sign up.
1) First, get clear on what’s important to you.
For me, it’s always a mix of learning, networking and experiencing a pleasant time with inspirational people. I would much rather attend fewer conferences that provide an awesome experience, than a whole bunch of mediocre ones.
2) Put the pencil to all your costs related to attending, conference fees, all travel costs, books, drinking and eating. And now look at what you will gain from attending. Does the math work? Or can you accomplish this online in your PJ’s?
3) Also determine whether the event provides all learning materials and copies of presentations after wards, online?
4) Do you get a list of attendees?
5) Are the speakers top-rate, business experts or mostly sponsors and vendors pitching their stuff?
6) Is there other business you can do while you are traveling to the conference city?
Should you decide to attend a conference, now make sure you use your time wisely.
1) Research the speakers and program options in advance.
2) Don’t sit by people you know, site next to people you want to know.
3) Pack enough business cards.
4) Dress like your brand. There is only one first impression.
5) If you meet someone meaningful and a new biz relationship is in the stars, follow up with them on a timely basis and communicate with something of value, not a form note that screams you are just another contact.
Tuesday, I addressed The Florida Conference for Women held in Orlando. It was a very nice, productive conference. Granted I was speaking there and not a paying guest. However, all the items that are important to me if I were an attendee were exceeded. In fact, whether I’m speaking or not, I would attend their next event in Florida.
Florida Conference for Women gets high marks from me.
-The attendees (over 1000) were a quality group of business woman, entrepreneurs and women in transition.
-The speakers were top rate and national business authorities.
-The visual experience (from collateral mail pieces to programs and gifts), the venue, the food and the staff were all excellent.
-The ticket price was very reasonable for the overall experience, along with the quality knowledge and connections that were made accessible.
This event was sponsored by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women and the FCSW Foundation, Inc.
For other conferences produced by the same group, check out:
If you attended the FL Conference for Women event and would like a copy of my Power Point Presentation on Personal Branding, view it and download below Personalbrand Flconf.Ppt