No doubt attending events can be exciting and uplifting, but at the same time also quite overwhelming.
Anyone can double their event impact by simply working out an approach for before, during and after the event. The magic word here really is: Strategy.
There is tons of content that elaborates on the different types of strategies for organizing events, but hardly anything about your strategy as an attendee. Whether you are completely new to corporate events or a conference dinosaur, with this easy 3-step guide you can make sure to get most out of your day!
BEFORE – Set your goals and define how you’ll meet them
Before you attend this year’s Event Summit, you should have a clear idea of what you hope to gain from it. Depending on your reasons for attending an event, you’ll approach it differently. Are you attending because you are:
- Looking for clients?
- Looking for a new job?
- Setting up a partnership for your company?
- Networking and making new connections?
- Collecting research on your competitors
Once you’ve set your primary goal for the event, you can start defining how you’ll get there and break this down into actionable tasks. This makes it easier to keep an overview of how much time you have and where you would like to focus on.
BEFORE – Choose the sessions you want to attend in advance
In most conferences, you’ll find that there will be many sessions to choose from – more than you’ll be able to attend. So when you’re planning your schedule for Event Summit, do not only take a look at the sessions you’re most interested in, but also come up with a schedule and planned slots for ad-hoc meetings and interactions. Be sure to include some downtime as well, to check out the rest of the activities happening at the event.
Do you find yourself in a session that turns out differently than expected? Don’t hesitate to skip out and go to a different one. The entire purpose of attending an event is to use your time wisely while getting the most out of it.
BEFORE – Know who you want to speak to
Depending on your primary goal for visiting an event, you might be looking for specific vendors, prospects, partners, or staff. Looking to establish a new contact or partnership? See who you would like to get in contact with and try to engage with them before the conference, so you can fit an exact slot into your schedule. This way you limit the chance of missing each other on the congress floor. Your time is valuable – and so you want to treat theirs.
When it comes to prospecting, don’t underestimate the power of technology. Start following companies or people you want to engage with through LinkedIn or follow event-related hashtags to see updates from exhibitors closer to the event-date. Apart from the possibilities that lay in social platforms, the majority of events offer their own event app that enables you to sign up before the event to start networking. Be sure to check it out at least a week prior, so you know how to use it to your advantage.
BEFORE – Know what you are looking for
On business to business events – especially if you are looking for specific solutions or new software – it’s good to map out your short-, and long term needs. A lot of companies who offer quick and easy solutions might have a visitors discount or extended free trial for whoever engages at their stand.
If you are looking for new suppliers to drastically change your enterprise architecture, keep in mind that a lot of stand-holders will be busy after conferences with following up on new acquisition. Response and integration times can therefore increase, so it’s beneficial to know and communicate when you need to have a solution implemented – to rule out false expectations.
BEFORE – Let people know where to find you
You’ve got something to offer that somebody wants, whether that’s a great product, amazing skill set, partnership opportunity or the need for a new supplier. Exhibitors as well as visitors should be vocal about their presence at an event. Blog about it in advance, share social updates to your network to see who you can link up with. Ideally you have a structured content marketing plan set up leading up to the event.
BEFORE – Check your logistics
It might sound like a minor thing, but something as simple as logistics can throw a spanner in the works. Be sure to check out how you get to the event, parking and ways of transportation from and to your hotel.
Event Summit 2020 is hosted in Ahoy Rotterdam, so that calls for a little more exploring after the event. Make sure to take a look if any cool side-events are being hosted alongside, through websites like We Own Rotterdam or Eventbrite.
DURING – Keep track of who you speak to
How many people can you meet and speak to in one day? With clearly defined goals and an updated agenda – A lot. To ensure you keep track of who you’ve spoken with and what about it’s smart to come up with a ‘thank you’ line.
Such a line can look like this:
“Hi [name], a quick thank you for taking the time to speak to me about [subject] just now. I’m interested to carry on this conversation after the event. Would love to hear when this would fit you.”
Or a simple:
“Hi [name], great talking to you about [subject]. Will follow up with some more info/dates after the event.”
This way you kill two birds with one stone by immediately following up on your conversation whilst documenting what you’ve talked about or want to learn more about. It’s also a great way to show proactiveness and potentially stand out from all the other people they have engaged with.
DURING – Be clear about your goals
You have set your personal goals and broke them down in actions. The next step together with executing them, is to share them. People generally attend events to build bridges and help. Don’t hesitate to tell somebody: “Hey, I aim to double my team’s size and therefore I am looking for more information about at least 5 different Event Management solutions”. They might just be, have or know this solution.
DURING – Keep our future in mind/be trend-aware
Because the technology landscape is rapidly changing, you need to keep an eye on the trending topics that are being discussed during the conference. That way you’ll be up-to-date with the work that the industry is currently doing and where it’s heading to. Make sure to write down all the future-proof solutions and top trends for event technology, so you don’t forget about it later!
TOP TREND: Sustainability
Although this topic isn’t new for the event industry, it’s becoming more relevant than ever. Now, more event planners are opting for environmental-friendly solutions to reduce the impact of single-use plastic. So be on the lookout for these greener alternatives at the venue. For example, there are Onsite Badge Printing Solutions that offer products like badges, badge holders and lanyards made out of biodegradable materials!
TOP TREND: Enhanced Personalization
With technological advances such as Big Data, AI and Machine Learning, event planners are able to personalize the attendees’ experience by providing them exactly what they need. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see companies using these technologies at Event Summit, so make sure to learn how they are applying it to their event strategies.
DURING – Attend the Social Events
Make some time to attend the conference social events, they’re a great opportunity to connect with people in a more relaxed environment. Event Summit has an after-party and breaks between sessions, so don’t be afraid to engage with people during that time, you never know if you could end up having a great conversation with a potential client or partner.
AFTER – Get social
Just because the conference it’s over doesn’t mean that the conversation has to end, keep it going on social media! There’s usually a dedicated hashtag that attendees use when they tweet or share their learnings during the conference – take advantage of that! Searching for hashtags afterward is a great way to find professionals from your same industry or field. Follow those who you are more interested in to continue the conversation, as well as learn from them.
AFTER – Follow up, connect and personalize
After the event, follow up with fellow attendees and stakeholders via professional social platforms, such as LinkedIn, or via email, in case you have their business card. These actions can help you ensure that those connections will be maintained. Each time you engage with them, make sure that the message is personalized and well-thought. It will give you better results in the long run!
AFTER – Practice what you learned
During the first days after Event Summit, you’ll have more time to review your notes and list down the new learnings acquired. Once you select the ones that you want to put into practice, ask yourself these questions:
- What resonated with you most?
- How can you apply that information to do your job better or faster?
- Which trends can you start applying?
Think through how you can begin to implement what you learned. Start working out your plan and add concrete steps that you’ll have to follow, so you can use them as guides.
Are you attending Event Summit 2020? We’d love to hear from you!