ENTREPRENEURSHIP / MAY. 29, 2014
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How to Get the Most Out of a Business Conference

If you're headed to a business conference in a touristy area, you might look forward to the trip, and you probably have a list of sights to check out after your daily conferences. 

But while you may eagerly await your visit to a new destination, this isn't a pleasure trip. There is a reason why your company or boss is paying for your attendance at the conference. And even if your days will entail sitting in meeting after meeting, it's important that you listen. What you learn might be the ticket to advancing your career. 

Therefore, here are six ways to get the most out of a business conference. 

#1. Familiarize yourself with the agenda beforehand

Don't wait until the last minute to read the agenda or program for the business conference. This provides an idea of what will be discussed, as well as a list of key speakers. And if you're given the option to select sessions, you can choose those that match closely with your position or career goals.

#2. Bring plenty of supplies and pay attention

Sitting in a conference for five or six hours a day can be tiring. To stay focus, bring a pen, notepad or your laptop and take notes. This way, it'll be easier to remember key points once a session concludes. Also, bring plenty of business cards with you. Business conferences are the perfect opportunity to network and align yourself with other professionals and corporations. 

#3. Don't be afraid to ask questions

It might be difficult to ask questions in a large setting. But if you're attending a relatively small session, and the speaker invites questions, don't be afraid to open your mouth and request clarification on a point. This is a rewarding educational experience -- the opportunity to learn from leaders in your industry. The more you can take away from the conference, the better. 

#4. Get a good night's rest

There is nothing wrong with enjoying a meal or a drink after hours with other attendees. However, getting a good night's rest can help you get the most out of a business conference. If you go to bed late or drink too much the night before, you might be groggy or sluggish the next day, which can impact your concentration and mental strength. 

#5. Bring a few snacks

Depending on the conference, you may only break one hour for lunch. To keep your energy level up throughout all the sessions, stash a few light snacks in your briefcase or purse, such as nuts, crackers or an energy bar. 

#6. Follow up with your business contacts

Since conferences also provide an opportunity to meet other professionals in your industry and other industries, retain the contact information of those you meet and follow up with these individuals. For example, you may connect with a person who specializes in website design and search engine optimization methods -- an excellent contact if you're looking to increase traffic to your company's website. In addition, you may meet someone who can potentially become a supplier or distributor for your company. 

Rather than view business conferences as burdens, think of these meetings as an opportunity to further your career. What tips do you have for surviving a business conference?

Image Credit: Flickr

 

 

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