Sounds simple until you sit down and actually study it. You or your employer has spent a considerable sum on your industry conference or seminar attendance. You may have needed to travel to a big city centre. If at all possible stay at the venue or at a hotel close by. It’ll save a lot of time and energy. So to get the most from it review the agenda, which speakers are most appealing, what subjects do you need to hear the latest on trends. Is there research being shared that you can utilise in your profession?
All good questions to cover and get clarity so you can make the best of the conference and have a fuss-free time.
Pre-registration, there are usually many payment options, are you a member of the Industry bodies or associations and entitled to a discount? Perhaps you’re a student and you can register at half price?
Lanyard collection will be at the reception or check-in counter. Always wear it, as it helps identify you and makes it easier to network. At a glance, you can see who are good networking candidates.
When photographers take your picture you can be identified to the organiser and a) more than likely you’ll get to know about it or b) you may even be highlighted on their site or social media channels. Getting recognised or mentioned at a professional event is great for your personal brand.
Presenters – Speakers
Is this you? Are you one of the shortlist selected to share your knowledge?
Congrats, everyone will be keen on hearing your talk. If you’re a fast talker and animated in the delivery of your presentation photographers will tend to capture you expressive.
On the other hand if don’t move around the stage and have lots of pauses between sentences then experienced photographers tend to wait for the pauses to photograph a more neutral expression. Hopefully the spotlights are not directed at your eyes but slightly above your natural view port so you can make regular eye contact with the conference and seminar attendees.
Network with Industry Peers
Who else do you know that going to the conference, ask your existing contacts, take a client or supplier along? If you been attending summits or seminars year on year it is likely you’ll be running into existing prospects at the event.
Introduce newbies or graduates to your existing network, reciprocity has a magical way of working. Expand the social aspect of professional conferences.
Take lots of business cards, although some large Corporates have banned the use of business cards. Use a phone app for capturing new peer details, or just connect on LinkedIn. But always send them a message so you two are not just another connection on a cyber network. Catch up for a coffee is best.
Bring a laptop with an all-day battery. If you use it in a darkened room, please turn down the brightness in consideration of the people around you and the battery will probably last most of the day.
Bring a warm jacket or jumper. Sometimes those big conference venues can get a bit cool.
Wear comfortable shoes, you’ll probably have to navigate many stairs in the larger conference venues in Sydney.
Keep sipping water, otherwise, you’ll struggle to make day two or worse, not be able to enjoy the Gala dinner that is common after conferences and summits.
Many conferences have workshops as part of the package. If the subject matter is on your shortlist, make sure you get a spot. Workshops provide you with even more value as far as knowledge, networking and soaking up any new concepts.
Small group workshops are even easier to get a chance at asking questions of the speaker or trainer. In a conference of 500-1000 not so much.
On multi-day conferences don’t overdo it on day 1, it is easy to get information overload, networking overload, pace it and have a good time.
A few locations we’ve photographed at; Grace Hotel, Opera House, ICC Sydney, Star City, Dock Side, Doltone House, The Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park ↗, Novotel Sydney Central ↗, Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, UTS Sydney ↗.
Checklist for Attending Conferences or Summits in 2020
- Pre-event research, pick 3 or 4 events a year.
- Suss out the speakers and workshops.
- On the day, check online for up to date itinerary.
- Shortlist your options.
- Connect on social media – speakers & contacts.
- Download the app if any.
- Drink water and eat enough.
- Networking. Who is on your list?
- New contact follow-ups.
- Reporting on the benefits within the business