Making Your Next Conference Experience Career Worthy


A conference is one of the most prized venues for meeting people with influence, and in fact many business deals are brokered, partnerships birthed and brilliant careers launched following introductions made in conferences.

The fall conference season is here, and you no doubt have a few in your calendar. Ask yourself:

Are you ready to get the most out of the connections you make and the people you meet?

  • Will you be seen as someone valuable and worth connecting with by other attendees, any one of whom might be your next potential client or employer?
  • Do you know who is attending and which people you will be connecting with?

Have a plan and work the plan. Start by setting goals. For example, how many meetings or introductions per day do you want to achieve?

Who, What, Why, When, Where 

Who you want to meet.
What pre-conference calls and emails you need to get done.
Why they would want to meet with you.
When are the best times to specific certain people?
Where are the best places to meet?

Now let’s have a look at some strategies you can employ at the next conference you attend.

Research Strategy

As one of the most common strategies, your goal is to get as much information for your company as possible. You can better yourself inside your organization and increase your awareness on the particular topic of the conference.

  • Prepare questions you are looking for answers
  • Use your questions to best plan out your activities during the conference.

Networking Strategy

While there are plenty of opportunities to network at conferences, getting good results is often much easier said than done. People simply don’t understand the “work” part of networking.

Sitting with the people you travel with is going to get you nowhere. Split up and sit with new people every chance you get. Be the first to introduce yourself, shake hands and then start with small talk questions, engaging one person at a time, and showing genuine interest in each of them.

Always remember to exchange business cards and follow up with the people you met within a few days.

Link & Share

You’re in a sea of great content and ideas so write as much as possible. Be the first to share news and events on LinkedIn, Twitter or, better yet, blog about it. You’ll be seen as an influencer with your industry peers — and that, my friend, is career manna straight from heaven.

Have a Creative Strategy

Conferences are a great place to pick up new ideas and breathe life into your company operations. Know what you’re looking for and have your radar set to pick up on motivational speeches and stories of what other people have done. This can do more than give you ideas, it can help get back some of the drive your career and/or your company could be lacking.

Have Your 30 Second Piece Ready

New business selling is probably one of the most common reasons why conferences are still so popular. First you need a plan with specific goals in mind — who are your ideal prospects, and what parts of the conference will they be attending? Can you reach them ahead of time to set a meetup over coffee or beers?

Do you have your top 3 features aka pain points in place for your 30 second introduction? Here’s a version of what I use whenever someone at a networking or conference event asks me what I do:

“Typically I’m hired by clients who are …

Business owners overwhelmed trying to find skilled people…
Or hiring managers stressing about not having the right people on board to meet targets…
Or HR professionals searching for that magic bullet to fill really jobs …

Does any of that sound like you or someone you know?”

When you attend a business conference with a well thought out game plan, you’ll be seen as someone well worth paying attention to.

Barbara Ashton is the CEO and Founder of Ashton & Associates Recruiting … Placing Powerful People.

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This post has been approved for public release by Barbara Ashton. All certified posts carry this Google Authorship link to Google.