Attending LANDSCAPES next week? Make the most of your trip–and come back with lots of great ideas to better your business–with these 11 ways to maximize your time and money at conferences.
1. Mazimize Your Time and Money at Conferences: MAKE FRIENDS FIRST
I have found that it is important to make new contacts you can talk to after the show is over. Sometimes a show can be overwhelming and you can’t take it all in, but if you make new friends, you can do both: learn from people at the show and learn from them afterwards. My first time I went to a trade show I focused too much on learning, and I didn’t make enough contacts. Now I know: Build contracts first, learn second.
2. Mazimize Your Time and Money at Conferences: GO IN TEAMS
When you go to a show alone, it is harder to bring all the good ideas and positive energy back to your company. If you can afford it, go with someone else from your company or your town. Having shared experiences and shared ideas will make it easier for you to execute on them once you get back to work.
3. Mazimize Your Time and Money at Conferences: COME WITH GOALS
Meet with your company beforehand and collect goals that your coworkers or employees want you to focus on. Write down your own goals. If you are going with a team to the show, you can divide the goals amongst your team or give everyone the same set of goals to work on.
4. Mazimize Your Time and Money at Conferences: DEBRIEF DAILY
Take time to debrief at the end of each day of the show. Either do this as a team with your staff, or if you go alone hook up with someone and share the top ideas you each learned.
5. Mazimize Your Time and Money at Conferences: ASK QUESTIONS
One of the best ways to network is to ask others about their businesses and what they are trying to improve on or work on. Networking is about helping the other guy or gal. So show an interest in their businesses, and they will more likely show an interest in yours. “People don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.”
6. Mazimize Your Time and Money at Conferences: BREAKFAST
Go to “Breakfast With Champions” every morning. This is the best place to make friends and learn applicable ideas. Don’t oversleep.
7. Mazimize Your Time and Money at Conferences: CONFERENCE BUDDY
Make contacts and set a time to meet them later in the day to talk about who you heard, what you learned and how you will apply it to your business. “It is not just what you learn but who you meet that makes your trip worthwhile.”
8. Mazimize Your Time and Money at Conferences: LEADERSHIP
Get involved with your association leadership. If you go to LANDSCAPES/GIE+EXPO, sit in the NALP leadership meetings that happen throughout the conference. These are where the movers and shakers are hanging out. Get involved; it is easy and worthwhile.
9. Mazimize Your Time and Money at Conferences: AROUND THE BAR
Evening is when the best sharing and learning happens. In Louisville at LANDSCAPES/GIE+EXPO, the bar in the OMNI Hotel is excellent for networking. (They have good bourbon, too.). Or go to the association-sponsored receptions and events.
10. Mazimize Your Time and Money at Conferences: SHARE YOUR GOALS
Come with a clear set of goals, and share them with a few people–they may point out seminars for you to attend and people for you to meet. “People who set and share goals are more likely to hit their goals.”
11. Mazimize Your Time and Money at Conferences: BRING BUSINESS CARDS
Come with enough business cards so you can trade contact information. You don’t want to run out.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The article was written by Jeffrey Scott, an industry consultant member who is speaking at LANDSCAPES. Scott speaks at 8:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday on “Creating a Five-Star Brand.”