Attending a conference (or any other professional event) is about upgrading your knowledge in your field and networking. Most of the time, it represents your own investment, so you should be more than motivated to make the most of your participation.
Meeting the right people, potential clients or partners is essential. This is why the following two tasks are essential:
- Get the right contacts
Getting the right contacts
Target: First, make sure the persons you want to meet with, are the right ones. Browse the basic information about their business, company position and decide if they match your business goals.
Pitch: Prepare a short (two phrases maximum) description about yourself and your business. This will be part of the e-mail acting as an invitation to meet you. Personalize if necessary according to your audience (what may be interesting to them, reasons why they should meet with you).
Contact and set meeting: Send out in advance the invitation emails. Provide at least two alternative time slots and ask for their availability. Make sure you mark in your calendar the meetings as they are being booked to avoid the unpleasant situation of running from one meeting to another (remember Mrs. Doubtfire and the restaurant scene?).
Preparing for your meetings means ensuring you have all the right tools in your “image arsenal” - the right outfit, the right presentation materials and any useful information you need to have about your next potential partner.
Looks: Make sure you dress professionally, yet relaxed. You want to feel comfortable in order to focus on the discussion, so forget that new but itchy shirt or the elegant but uncomfortable pair of shoes.
Presentation materials and speech: Make sure to pack business cards, brochures, samples or any other material that will be useful for sharing with the people you meet. Don’t overdo it. Just like you, your conference colleagues aren’t keen on carrying back home loads of useless promotional stuff. Think of a three-minute speech - that´s about how much time you have to capture your partner’s attention. Make sure you have a brief, yet convincing presentation about your company or your services. Don´t forget to point out the reasons one should be interested in a business venture with you.
Learn about who you meet with: This is the most important element of preparing. Once you have set meetings, start learning about those people and their business. It is vital to make a good impression; show that you are prepared and serious and not just another enthusiast who is going to waste their time and has no idea what to talk about.
The first place to go to is social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram can all be useful. You can make a first contact there, or just learn more about the person; engage in group conversations where your target people are members. See what subjects they are interested in. Google them to see if they are in the news. Look for anything that may relate your business to their interests and goals. Look on their business website and personal blog. See what kind of language they use, their tone of voice and the subjects they follow in everyday life (very good ice breakers). Make short notes for each of the people you are going to meet. This way you don’t risk forgetting important details. Revise those notes before each meeting.
Though this may seem like a lot of work, it is the only way to make sure all your effort will pay off. A prepared person makes a great first impression. And by preparing in advance, you leave very little to hazard; you are in control, you gain more self-confidence and can focus on your meeting goals.
MeetPrep is a personal attendee assistant that saves valuable time and resources when preparing for any major business event. Promoting your participation, inviting people to meet you and equipping you with the right intel are the key pre-event tasks we take off your plate to increase your ROI.