How To Get The Most Out Of A Business Conference

By Elsie Boskamp
Nov. 30, 2022

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Chances are, at some point or another in your career, you’ll have to attend a business conference. However, in order to make the most of a business conference, you’ll have to do some preparation.

In this article, we’ll explain how to prepare for a business conference, how to make the most of it when you’re there, and what to do once you get home. We’ll also share the purpose of these conferences and what to expect when you attending one.

Key Takeaways

  • Before you attend a business conference, set your goals for the conference, practice questions to ask while networking, and come up with an elevator speech.

  • Focus on growing your professional network and learning as much as you can at a business conference.

  • When you return from a business conference, write down your key takeaways, share what you learned with your team, and follow up on any networking connections you made.

How To Get The Most Out Of A Business Conference

How to Prepare for a Business Expo

  1. Set goals for the conference. The best way to prepare for a business expo is to set clear goals and define how you’re going to meet them. Doing this will help you make the most out of the conference, since you’ll be focused on your goals and actively working to achieve them.

  2. Having a brainstorming session before the business conference kicks off is a great way to figure out what, exactly, you’re hoping to gain from the event. Visualizing and writing down your goals will help you effectively meet them.

  3. Practice networking questions and answers. In some ways, preparing for a business conference is similar to preparing for a job interview or an important work presentation.

    It’s a good idea to prepare a series of questions and answers that you can use when networking with other conference attendees. Think about how you’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions like:

    • Tell me about yourself.

    • Where do you see yourself in five years?

    • What are your career goals?

    • What are your work values?

  4. Write an elevator pitch. Since networking is key at business conferences, writing an awesome elevator pitch will help you stand out from the crowd and build your network. Your elevator pitch should be a short and engaging 30-second speech that touches on who you are, what you do, and what you want.

  5. Figure out conference logistics with your employer. Once you have your elevator pitch ready to go, you do some brainstorming and outline your goals, and you study up on some of the most commonly asked networking questions, now you have to make arrangements to actually attend the conference.

    Make sure to wrap up any loose strings at work before going to the conference, put an automated message on your work email, and tell your boss and coworkers where you’ll be.

    If your company is paying for you to attend the conference, don’t forget to submit any required forms to a human resource representative and closely track your expenses while at the event.

  6. Create a schedule. The conference is only so long, so it’s important that you do things that closely align with your goals.

    After receiving the event breakdown when checking in, determine which speaking events, workshops, and networking activities you want to attend. Sticking to this schedule will help you make the most of the business conference.

  7. Test your equipment for a virtual conference. If the conference you’re attending is a virtual one, you’ll need to take a few extra steps to provide yourself with successful networking opportunities and possibilities for career development.

    Before the conference begins, double-check your tech and test your internet, webcam, battery level, and sound, just as you would when preparing for a video interview.

  8. Prepare to be as professional as possible. Whether you’re attending a business conference or networking event in person or virtually, you should dress to impress and be prepared to make small talk, meet new professionals, and learn new things about your job and professional industry.

    These may not be things you’d normally do even at work, but it’s important to put your best foot forward and fully engage with all the conference has to offer. This may mean you need to buy or borrow some clothes or look up small talk topics beforehand.

Tips for Making the Most of Business Networking Events

Attending a business conference and professional networking event can be stressful, especially if it’s your first one. The benefits of business and networking events surely outweigh any potential drawbacks. With a few useful tips, you’ll easily be on your way to a successful and rewarding experience at professional conferences.

Here are the top six methods of making the most out of business networking events:

  1. Be strategic with your time. Business conferences are great ways of expanding your career knowledge, uncovering new innovations in your industry, and learning what the future of your company might look like. But, of course, there’s only so much time you can do this all in.

    Be strategic with your time when attending a conference by sticking to a schedule and prioritizing which speaking events you want to attend and who you want to network with. How you use your time should be very closely connected to your networking and career goals.

    You get out what you put into a professional conference, so make sure you’re using your time wisely and making your best effort to expand your network of contacts while understanding the topics discussed at speaking events and roundtables.

  2. Grow your professional network. Perhaps the single biggest perk of attending professional business conferences is having the opportunity to grow your professional network. Networking can take you far in your career and in your life.

    Networking is key at business conferences, especially for young professionals looking to grow their business or make their mark in their industry or company. When networking, making a good first impression is important.

    Before attending a conference, do some research and figure out what kind of people you’ll be networking with and prepare what you’re going to say to them. It’s essential to introduce yourself in a positive and professional manner.

    Excellent networking can, down the line, help you reach career goals and professional growth. Networking can also help you find new jobs and get hired, especially if you work an untraditional job, like a virtual typist.

  3. Take notes. In order to get the very most out of a business conference, you should take notes and write down key points and important ideas throughout the event. Taking notes will help you stay engaged during speaking events and ensure that you don’t forget any pertinent information.

    Taking notes during a professional conference will allow you to record important takeaways and key details. It’s also a great way to remember questions you want to ask the speaker at the end of their presentation.

  4. Be open. It’s important to keep an open mind when attending business conferences. The speaking and networking events that take place during a professional conference often introduce people to new ideas and push them outside of their comfort zone.

    To get the most out of a work conference, strive to be open to learning about new theories and ideas, hearing varying points of view, meeting new people, and improving your networking skills.

  5. Listen and learn. When you attend professional conferences it’s important to listen and stay engaged, just as you would during a group interview. While attending a business conference you should listen carefully and, when appropriate, ask thoughtful and engaging questions.

    While there will be ample opportunity for you to network at business conferences, the main reason why you should attend is to learn new things that can help advance you in your career.

  6. Recharge. Business conferences are typically long multi-day events and, sometimes, they can be draining. It’s important to avoid burnout by making time for yourself.

    It is essential to carve out time to recharge and rest. You won’t be able to get the most out of the conference if you overexert yourself, or push yourself to attend every event, presentation, and cocktail party.

    During business conferences, especially longer ones, make sure to take care of yourself by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep.

What to Do After a Conference

Once you’re home from your conference, there are a few things you should do to ensure you’ve truly made the most of it.

  1. Write down what you learned. Whether it’s a blog post, a journal entry, or bullet points on your computer, write down the main takeaways you got from the conference. Then, write down a few things that you learned that you plan to implement.

    This will help your mind cement what you learned, and it will also make it easy to share your thoughts when people ask you about the conference.

  2. Present what you learned to your team. This can be in a casual conversation or email, but some managers want their employees to make full-blown presentations about what they learned at a conference.

    This helps your team get as much value as possible out of the conference, so instead of groaning about having to prepare a presentation, focus on helping your team grow.

  3. Follow up with the connections you made. The day after the conference, reach out to the people you met and want to stay connected with. This can be as simple as an email, text, or invitation on LinkedIn accompanied by a message.

    However you decide to reach out, remind the person how you met, talk about how you enjoyed chatting with them, and give them some sort of call to action. This could be meeting for coffee, inviting them to another upcoming event, or asking if they’d share with the rest of your team.

The Purpose of a Successful Business Conference

Professional conferences serve to educate employees, employers, and businessmen, and women on various improvements, trends, or opportunities in their industry or company. Attending a conference also provides an opportunity to network and connect with new businesses and industry experts.

  1. Learn new skills and keep up your certification. Depending on your field of work, business conferences may be required by your employer or mandated by certifying agencies or governing bodies.

    This is especially true for teachers and healthcare professionals who typically attend business expos to gain certificates and stay at the top of their field.

    Educational conferences are one of the quickest ways for teachers to refresh their knowledge and get an inside look at what direction the future of education is headed. Some of the most renowned teacher conferences include TCEA, Deeper Learning Conference, SXSWEdu, OETC, and Empower.

  2. Expand your professional network. One of the most attractive components of a business conference is networking opportunities. Attending a business conference will help you make professional connections.

    Building relationships will make you stand-out in your industry, expand your network, and prove to be invaluable for new business owners.

    Effectively networking at business events can lead to many valuable and positive outcomes.

    Attending events, either virtually or face-to-face, and expanding your network of professional contacts can help with recruiting efforts, understanding how competing businesses or professionals think and work, vendor, partner, and consultant sourcing, and finding new clients.

    Through frequent conference attendance and great networking, you’ll develop a better understanding of your career and industry, which can, in turn, help you make important professional decisions.

  3. Find new career opportunities. Business conferences are great opportunities for understanding your industry across different states, especially if salary differs greatly from state-to-state, as is the case with event coordinators in America.

    After attending a conference career professionals may be compelled to relocate, refocus or add to their business, or even change industries.

What to Expect at a Conference or Networking Event

When attending a conference or networking event you should expect to learn new things and meet new people.

Depending on what kind of conference you’re attending, and what industry you work in, professional conferences vary. In general, business conferences are multi-day events consisting of presentations, roundtables, speaking engagements, professional luncheons, and various networking opportunities.

Typically ranging anywhere from one day to one week, business conferences review industry trends, business needs, and professional improvements. The events are usually hosted by a large company or group and are sponsored by members of the business community.

Virtual Conferences

Today, the large majority of professional conferences and networking events are being held virtually.

Although 47 percent of workers prefer in-person meetings and conferences, it’s important to stay focused and avoid distractions when attending virtual business conferences. You can still get the same, if not better, benefits from virtual events as you can traditional ones.

Whether you’re planning on attending a virtual business expo or networking event or a more traditional, in-person business conference, it’s important to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Keep moving forward to get the most out of the networking event.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to optimize the value of a business conference and make the most out of the professional event you’re attending. These business events are vital to career growth and professional success.

Business conferences are valuable tools for learning new things about your industry and expanding your professional network.

One of the key takeaways of a business conference is effective networking. The benefits of networking are vast, ranging from reaching your long-term career goals to landing a job you’ve always dreamed of having.

However, business events and conferences can be overwhelming. They usually consist of several presentations, panel discussions, or conversations. They also provide ample opportunity to meet new folks in your industry and to network with career professionals in established companies.

While professional conferences can open up doors of opportunity, they can also be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re an introvert or attending your very first conference or networking event.

The best way to say goodbye to those pre-conference jitters and to make the most out of these business networking events is by knowing what you’ll be walking into.

By following our top tips for successful networking and attending a conference, you’ll learn to get the most out of every business conference you go to throughout your professional career.

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Author

Elsie Boskamp

Elsie is an experienced writer, reporter, and content creator. As a leader in her field, Elsie is best known for her work as a Reporter for The Southampton Press, but she can also be credited with contributions to Long Island Pulse Magazine and Hamptons Online. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Stony Brook University and currently resides in Franklin, Tennessee.

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