I still remember my first business conference.
I showed up in Boston terrified of being around all these “real” business people. My business was successful, but it was done out of the corner of my kitchen with kids in tow.
It was, however, a real turning point in my career, and now I attend no less than six per year. Not because I come home with “sales” or “clients” but because I come home with connections, ideas and totally motivated.
Here are my tips on boosting business by attending conferences (every industry has ’em!):
What to do:
- Talk to people, don’t wait to be talked to
- Get business cards from everyone you meet and write details about them on the back (or you’ll forget before you get home)
- Bring lots of business cards and don’t be afraid to hand them out (MOO is awesome)
- Ask about their business, don’t just talk about yours
- Carry something with you at all times to take notes (and take lots of them)
- Find out the conference hashtag for Twitter; you’ll often find public invites letting you know where attendees are hanging out
Conferencing on a budget:
- Buy conference passes in advance; almost all conferences have “early bird rates”
- Book your airline tickets at least a month in advance; JetBlue and Southwest often have killer deals
- You don’t need to stay in the conference hotel; you can find nice, cheap hotels close by on the web (check their reviews on TripAdvisor.com before booking)
- Tweet that you’re going; you may find someone you know is also attending – and willing to share a room
Remember, you’re there to make real connections, get ideas and find a new level of motivation. I promise you won’t regret it.
What conferences have you attended? Tell us about your experience in the comments!
Rae Hoffman-Dolan is a mother of four kids and the CEO of The Sugarrae Agency, which provides various SEO consulting services to medium and large businesses.
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