Travel… isn’t it great? Conferences. You get to travel, it’s a business expense, maybe you learn something and maybe you make some contacts. Does this describe your conference going experience? This week I was working with a client that is getting ready to go to a trade conference in Copenhagen. I have been to Copenhagen many times, it’s a great city… but let’s face it, they probably won’t get the chance to really experience the city, because they will be in the conference most of the time.
So… if they are going to be in the conference, then… they need to BE IN THE CONFERENCE! I would like to share with you my strategy for maximizing their experience.
You have an incredible opportunity to plug into "the industry". It will be an enormous benefit if you keep a daily (hourly) journal. The ideas will be free flowing and you want to capture every single one. Your journal can focus on these 4 things…
1. Strokes of Genius… yours and others.
2. Observations… things you see, hear and learn… stories to re-tell… trends to report on… article and blog ideas.
3. Ideas to take your practice to the next level… no matter how big or small.
4. Note to self… other things you want to remember.
The other opportunity is forging relationships… you never know when someone can contribute to your success or you to theirs.
1. Talk to as many people as possible. Divide and conquer… don’t hang out with the people you came with, move around.
2. Ask questions. What have they found to be an effective business development tool? Do they blog and write articles? You get the idea. If you always ask the same 3-4 questions of the people you meet, you get the added benefit of consensus.
3. Make sure you ask for business cards… the protocol is YOU ask for theirs, you don’t offer yours unless asked for it. To build relationships it is essential to stay in-touch, get those business cards… but I caution you this is NOT a business card gathering exercise. The idea is to connect with people and once you have done that… THEN you ask for their card.
If you focus on journaling and building relationships when you attend a conference you will come home with the right tools needed to maximize the time and expense of attending the conference. If your firm is sending you… you would never want anyone to think it was a boondoggle, you will have the information needed to report on what you gained and the results of the conference.
As for Copenhagen? I encourage you to visit the city when you have the time to really experience it! The people are warm and friendly. The architecture and design is amazing. Denmark is a tiny country with a big, big heart.