Some of you will be attending the biggest global mobility industry event this week in Boston: ERC’s Global Workforce Symposium. Professional conferences are excellent places to connect names with faces, discover new industry trends, and network with others in your industry. It helps to have a plan before you go.
Here are some tips to make the most of your time:
Have a goal. Do you want to extend your professional contacts, advance your subject matter expertise, find suppliers, develop a partnership or brush up on new technology? Whatever your goal, take an active role at the conference.
Use the conference mobile app. This is a convenient and efficient way to do some preliminary planning and a great way to navigate the event. Make a list of which sessions would be of interest or beneficial to attend. The app is also a good opportunity to review the attendee list to make the most of your connections and interactions.
Divide and conquer. Ask your work colleagues to spread out over the conference and attend different concurrent sessions. This strategy will ensure maximum exposure to what the conference has to offer. Set aside time to share information with each other.
Introduce yourself to at least three new people. Make it a point to expand your professional contacts by introducing yourself to at least three new people. If you are not comfortable, network with an extroverted friend who can help with introductions.
Take notes. Write down a few key takeaways from each session. Take away at least one idea, tool, concept or bit of information that can be applied to your daily practice.
Attend social events. If you are invited to social events, try to attend as these are actually a lot of fun and really help to extend the excitement, enthusiasm and energy of a conference. Don’t be afraid to relax and mingle.
Bring conference highlights back to the office. Not everyone will be able to attend the conference. Consider yourself an emissary for your entire working group and be committed to sharing what you learned with others.
Follow up. If you have exchanged business cards, make sure to follow up after the conference. This is a great way to form and strengthen professional networks over time.
Save the conference program. The conference program can be a great professional resource. They are directories of expert level knowledge and subject matter expertise. Let your program act as a professional resource and directory.
Thank your boss. Tell your boss what you learned and express your gratitude for the time off and funding that allowed you to attend.
Attending regular conferences are a great way to grow your professional goals. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be sure to get the most out of the event.