As I hinted at in previous shows I’ve been away for 10 days both on holiday (or vacation as the Americans like to say). I was at a major Marketing conference, Social Media Marketing World arranged by Social Media Examiner, in San Diego in California. I’ve only just arrived back a few days ago and due to jet lag and organisational incompetence it’s going to be another short show.
Given the topical conference theme running through my head I’d thought I’d share some of my tips for dealing with conferences. I am a bit of a conference junkie, in that I go to far too many, but I do feel that there is value in conferences for everyone. So here are my tips for getting the most out of conferences.
Arrive early to the conference and leave late.
Unless you desperately need to be somewhere else my advice is to arrive at the destination where the conference is a day or two early and leave a day or two late. The reason for saying this is that it gives you a chance to meet up with people before and after the conference. Lots of groups and people arrange meetups before and after events and if you aren’t there you don’t get access to these.
Many of the networking opportunities tend to come in the evenings but most of the learning tends to happen in the daytime, so it is important not to over-do one or the other.
Meet people online before
Take every opportunity to connect with people online before the conference. If possible arrange a few meetings at the conference with people you’ve already met online. This makes it SO much easier to meet people at the conference.
Be brave in talking to the speakers but don’t be a pest
Reach out and talk to the speakers if you get a chance but if you feel they aren’t interested then walk away and leave them alone. You don’t want to be thought of as a pest, and your time is far better spent talking to people who do want to connect.
Don’t just be a guy who follows the speakers around
There are opportunities to make all sorts of new connections with your fellow delegates. Apart from the obvious benefits of friendships, the other delegates could give you ideas and different perspectives and in some cases opportunities for interviews, promotion and deals.
Book a hotel near to the conference venue
If there is a main conference hotel book a place there, as you will feel left out of many of the connections that happen at the hotel. It will make it harder for you to go to your hotel if you need to take a break during the conference or go back to your hotel room to pick up something.
I hope these have been useful to you. I’ve met a few people at the conference who I’ll have as future guests, strangely enough to speak about social media marketing, so hopefully should be having a few more substantial interview shows soon!