Convention Conundrum: How to Make the Most of Your Time
You have plans to head to the next business convention. However, you’ve done this before and came back feeling like you didn’t make the most of the opportunity. Here’s how to check-off all the boxes and ensure this upcoming convention is a huge success.
List Your Goals
Many go to conventions without a sense of purpose. Sure, you can pay attention to speakers and schmooze with cohorts, but unless you literally have an agenda, you can come away feeling like nothing got accomplished. Make a list of goals. It could be talking to a potential client, asking several cohorts out for cocktails, or spreading the news about your emerging business.
Look the Part
If you want to be successful then you must look the part. You don’t want to arrive in a three-piece suit or gown if the event is not quite that formal. However, you want to look to impress. That means a fresh haircut, clean appearance, and attire that is business appropriate. Even if the other goers are a bit casual, raise the bar just a bit by looking more professional.
Don’t Get Drunk
There’s a difference between being social and getting and drink and falling down on the floor from tequila. If you are the type who likes to enjoy an after-hours drink then be mindful of keeping the alcohol to a limit. It’s okay to be sociable but getting drunk in a semi-business setting does not present a good impression.
Break-Out of the Conventions
Conventions usually have halls lined with vendors as well as seminars led by professionals who give insight into tools, best practices, etc. Be sure break-out of the convention-only mindset and keep options open related to going out to dinner, heading to happy hour, and doing activities within the hosting city. Many admit actual business connections take place outside of the actual event. See what fun things to do around the vicinity of your Renaissance by Marriott hotel.
It’s tough to shake each person’s hand and leave a lasting impression among all the stimuli of the event. That’s why promotional products are such a big hit at conferences. You can choose some fun gifts to present to cohorts and potential clients. Usually, something quirky or functional (like a cloth to clean your smartphone screen) leaves a lasting impression.
Keep Business to a Minimum
While conventions are a time to network, don’t expect to talk hard business with each person you meet. Some people recognize the business potential but are willing to wait until the end of the event to follow-up with potential business partners. Yes, you want people to notice and remember you but don’t expect to orchestrate huge deals the day of the event.
Do something ingenious. Research the event’s city beforehand and offer helpful tips to those who are looking for places to stay overnight, eat, and engage in some fun. It’s an indirect way to get on people’s’ radars by doing something for them. This makes a better impression versus those who appear as if they are approaching others with the intention of getting something in return (a business deal, an introduction to a potential business partner, etc).