Maximize ROI on attending a conference
There is a great conference coming up on September 18-19:
NEMOA, the National Etailing and Mailing Organization of America. NEMOA is focused on peer learning and networking, and is a great way to invest in yourself, find great advisors, and get re-energized about work.
Disclaimer: I was on the NEMOA board for a number of years. I joined the board because I loved the organization then, and I love it still.
Here are a few thoughts about how to make the best use of your time at any conference.
- Arrive early and stay late.
- Stay at the hotel where the conference is being held.
- Go to all of the sessions and activities. Set your phone aside for a few hours and really concentrate on being at the conference.
- Introduce yourself to fellow attendees and to the speakers. Change seats throughout the conference to meet and talk to as many people as possible. If you attend the conference with others from your company, split up and sit next to strangers. Start conversations. Listen to the answers. Make friends. Don’t sell.
- Take notes. Think about what the speakers are saying and try to digest it.
- Try to think of at least one question to ask each speaker and ask it. Get the conversation started. The questions following a presentation are sometimes more informative that the actual presentation.
- Plan to teach someone about what you learned, or write a blog about what you learned. You listen differently when you know you have to convey information.
- Introduce yourself after each session, and thank the speaker. The speakers at the conference are chosen because they are a leader in your industry or have a unique idea to convey. Send them a note after the conference to thank them again. If a bond forms, stay in touch.
- Be yourself. Be honest about what you know and don’t know.
- Have fun.
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