Written By: Hilary Robinson, Senior Trainer & Owner, Polished Professionals

Not only does Labour Day signal back-to-school for many, it also signals the start of the autumn event season – possibly the busiest season in the calendar.

If you’re like many people out there, September, October and November can look like one long trip out of the office. And even though this time of year can be tough to manage (you still need to find time to do your actual job) attending conferences, trade shows and meetings can represent a fabulous opportunity to meet new people, connect with customers and create relationships that lead to new business – if you do it right.

So, answer this: once you’ve registered, do you put the event out of your mind until the moment you need to show up?

The correct answer is NO!

Ignoring the event right up until it’s about to happen means that you lose several valuable opportunities to make the most of the time you will spend there.

DO THIS INSTEAD: Spend a small amount of time to prep ahead of the event.

If you would like to get the most out of any event you attend, then take the time to do one or two of the following:

  1. Investigate who else is going to be there. Knowing this ahead of time allows you to turn a cold lead into a warmer one by connecting with them on social media.
  2. Where possible, plan your meetings/coffee before you get there. This ensures you meet with people you’ve pinpointed as key contacts.
  3. Look into the companies that are exhibiting. It’s very helpful to know which companies will be there, as well as which staff members will be present.
  4. Study the conference break-out sessions: figure out which one you’ll get the most from in terms of speaker, content and audience.
  5. Take time to know the layout of the venue and where the coffee areas are. You’d be surprised how many great conversations happen over coffee.

There are, of course, many more ways to prepare. However, by doing even a small amount of work in advance, and implementing a few of these tools, you will find that you get much more out of the time you invest in attending any event.

In addition, being prepared before you go will mean that your confidence levels are higher and that you come across as a more polished professional.


Join Hilary in Toronto on October 5th at Conference Confidence, a one-day workshop to help you polish and get the most of your conference experience. Click here for more details.

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