It doesn’t matter who you are right now: a student pursuing a business degree, a recent graduate making first steps in the professional world, an entrepreneur owning a business, or a high-level executive having a solid working experience – everyone will benefit from attending a conference. Conferences offer plenty of opportunities for both – professional and personal development, so get the most out of your experience as a conference attendee.
Do your homework
There is always plenty of things happening at a professional conference, so it is easy to get lost. Especially if this is your first time attending such an event. The key to success is being prepared and knowing your goals.
Before going to a conference, check the conference website. Know beforehand which sessions are offered and at what time. Read about the speakers and learn about their background. Check the ticket options and what they include. Is there anything else offered to attendees? Is there an exhibitor hall to take a look at? Are there any fun activities planned? What are the food options? So, be prepared.
Big conferences have many sessions running at the same time. Thus, MDMC18 offers about 100 concurrent sessions across such tracks as Data, Digital Strategy, Career, Entrepreneurship, Technology and Innovation. Check the schedule beforehand, mark the sessions that are most relevant for your career and make sure you attend them. You are going to the conference to learn something new, so know exactly what you are there for and be strategic about it.
Expand your network
The power of networking in the contemporary world cannot be overestimated. Not only can you meet your peers from other companies, who face the same challenges as you do in your daily work, but you can get some valuable advice from the industry experts. Building your social capital is important, both for your present and future, so set you goal to get as much as possible from your time spent at a conference.
Make specific plans
Yes, there will be a lot of speakers from all the big agencies and media talking about cutting-edge technologies and new apps, sharing insights about new industry trends, giving advice on how to deal with certain issues, and providing specific examples on how to achieve your business goals. There will be even more people attending the conference. It is going to be a few busy days, but make sure you get to know people you need. Approach speakers after the sessions to introduce yourself. Exchange business cards and invite for a coffee or lunch. See who else is attending the conference and get to know other attendees. Be proactive in many ways, and the time and money you spent on the conference will soon pay off.
Do not rely on your memory. With so many things happening during a few days (attending sessions, meeting speakers, talking to other attendees, visiting the expo), it is too easy to forget everything that you have learned there. Always carry a note book, a pen, an organizer, a tablet or a phone (whichever you prefer) to write down your comments, key takeaways and contact details. You will thank yourself for doing that a few days after the conference.
In a nutshell, it is all in your hands. Attending a conference might be a bit overwhelming, but it is totally worth it. Just follow the tips and make sure you make the most out of your time at the conference.
We are looking forward to seeing you at the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference, which is going to take place at St. Louis’ Union Station on March 27-28, 2018. Learn more about the conference.
*Photo VIA UMSL Daily