Have you ever attended a conference and left wondering if you got enough value for your investment in time, and travel? This blog post includes tips for maximizing your return on investment at the next conference or event you attend. Watch the video we recorded when we presented this topic on our C2M Live! webinar two years ago, or read the highlights of the presentation in the blog post below.
Time and resources are precious. If you're going to invest in attending a Conference like IMC USA's Consult-Con, make sure you get the best return possible, including potential clients, referral sources, opportunities for future speaking gigs or volunteer leadership positions, connections with people in your industry and more.
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There is a lot you can do to prepare to maximize your investment before your Conference or event. Be strategic as you approach the Conference. Before you go, you can:
- Target individuals in advance. Consult-Con and most IMC USA events allow you to view the list of registrants. If they are members, you can see their member profile and learn about their consulting practice area and background in advance.
- WINK. Know "Who I Need to Know" before you start networking. Not everyone you meet is a referral source or potential client. Be prepared to ask others you meet networking if they know who you need to know. Is it CEO's and business owners? Referral sources who are trusted advisors? Consultants to management often know a lot about what a business or organization is going through, including strategic plans, upcoming projects, needed skill sets and more, so they make great referral sources.
- Develop and practice your elevator pitch. Make it interesting and keep it brief. Develop a couple of different versions. A good format tells what you do and gives an example. "I work with clients to help them grow their business with better marketing. For example, I helped a client launch two new product lines that resulted in a $2 million sale."
- Bring business cards, marketing materials, copies of your book(s). Better yet, minimize your luggage and make more of an impact by giving contacts your business card and mail or email them relevant articles, marketing pieces or books.
- Help or be the organizer. Conferences are a lot of work. Get involved and volunteer to help the organizers of the Conference. Good work is appreciated and will get noticed.
- Speak. Find out how the Conference selects speakers and submit some topics that fit the Conference theme and audience.
- Ask great questions. If you missed the speaker submission deadline, you still have opportunities to get known. Make sure you speak up and ask great questions during the conference. Showcase your knowledge, but keep it brief and don't grandstand or promote yourself overly much. If you ask good questions, you'll get the attention of Conference organizers, speakers and other attendees.
- Have a conference within a conference. Plan in advance to invite people with whom you have synergies (and those on your WINK list) to join you during a break, for coffee or for a meal before or after the conference.
- Draft off a big kahuna. Get to know the most important people at the Conference, including the Program Chair, the Chair or CEO of the organization and industry thought leaders who speak at the Conference. Thank them for their information if they spoke, complement them on a great event, or offer to speak or volunteer at the next event.
- Master deep bump. In just a couple of minutes listen and establish a personal connection by learning something a person is passionate about or interested in. Hint: don't stay on the surface and talk about the weather.
- Use breaks. Instead of reading emails on your phone or standing alone in the coffee area, ask people to meet to sit down at the next break, learn more details about them and discuss how you can work together.
- Follow up. As you meet people, think of blog posts, articles, book titles, tools & utilities, introductions to people, links to other people’s articles that you can send after the fact to help them.
Here are more tips from the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi:
- Be interesting
- Have a unique point of view
- Analyze trends and ask questions
- Know yourself
- Always learn
- Stay healthy
- Don’t get discouraged
- Seek unusual experiences
- Know new technology
- Develop a niche
- Follow the money
- Don’t give in to hubris
- Get a mentor
With a little strategic intention, you can make your Conference and Event attendance generate the results you want. These are just examples of the information and help you get when you join IMC USA. Our professional association is focused on providing you with the information you need to build your practice and add transformative value for your clients. Join us today and start growing your consulting business.
Not quite ready to join IMC USA? Set up a freee account and subscribe to our email list and get to know us.
The tips mentioned in this blog post are primarily from the Chapter on Becoming a Conference Commander in Keith Ferrazzi's book, Never Eat Alone. The WINK acronym was developed in the Provisors trusted advisor business networking group.