I go to the four conferences annually in the related fields I serve. I attend the sessions, but mostly I am there to network, meet prospects, and find out what's new in each field. Each conference lasts the better part of a work week (when you include travel). That equates to a month's worth of commitment each year for me. Do you have any ideas how I can handle this more efficiently?
Here are some ideas:
- Spend less time at the conference. Pick the one day you want most, making it a day when there is not a major evening activity.
- On nights when there are no scheduled evening activities, why not try to pre-arrange a dinner meeting with a potential prospect or colleague. Use your time productively and connect in advance with other attendees to get together for breakfast or during breaks.
- Get a suite and set up a temporary office. Invite prospects (in advance of the conference) to attend individual meetings. In addition, you can easily get other work done during the rest of the time you are there. Result: You don't miss a beat. Simply attend the sessions and events you want and treat the rest of the time like a normal work week.
Don't get tricked into following the schedule or priorities laid out by conference organizers. This "suggested schedule" is designed to engage you in as many offerings as possible, not necessarily what you need. Sometimes you need to perform a quick "cost-benefit" analysis when deciding whether or not you even need to physically attend a particular conference. Look carefully at the actual agenda, length, and cost carefully when making your decision and try to "quantify" the benefit of actually being there. As an alternative, many conferences do offer lower cost methods to obtaining the critical conference content (such as DVD, CD's, etc.). © 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA