Have You Ever Had This Conference Experience?
I’m fresh off a 3-day conference. My team and I exhibited, attended presentations and round tables, had thought-provoking business conversations with peers, met potential partners and customers, and a lot more. I stepped off the plane with a bag of literature, a fist full of business cards, some swag for the kids, and a head full of ideas and information. Then came Monday.
What Happens Post-Conference?
I arrived in the office to an overflowing email inbox, a full queue of voicemails, and a to-do-list longer than my arm. It wasn’t just the 3 days of backlog from the event, but the 10 days of heads-down preparation for the show that piled up as well. On top of that, I was exhausted.
I know the next week or two would be catching up on the past two, plus my regular work. If I’m lucky, I’ll uncover all the material from the conference in 2 weeks. But what does that mean for my conference experience agenda?- I don’t capitalize on the significant investment of time and cash spent to attend the conference.
- I forget all the great ideas and initiatives sparked from the show.
- I miss opportunities with key prospects, customers, partners, and vendors.
- I blow off the knowledge transfer to my organization, or don’t remember those valuable nuggets of information altogether.
These aren’t just my harsh realities; they are the common issues and drains facing conference and trade show attendees, and their leadership, everywhere.
The #1 Question that Needs to Be Asked, Addressed, and Answered:
- Are you maximizing your investment of time and money when it comes to attending or exhibiting at events?
Conference Best Practices & Value Solutions:
- Reduce preparation time by days and even weeks: Use preconfigured check list of items that can be reused and modified for each event. Ideally, such a check list is provided by the event organizers because they know key logistical activities, deadlines, and even best practices should be made repeatable and shareable among attendees and vendors. Harvard Business Review’s Meetings Cost Calculator indicates that saving 8 hours of work for 5 employees @ an annual salary of 70K translates to $2,000/day.
- Establish your goals in advance: Articulate objectives for the conference that has the whole team in alignment, including management, to justify your attendance and to acquire the skills, connections or training you sought out.
- Set your game plan: Tailor the schedule for each team member - who will attend which tracks presentations, breakout sessions, vendor booths, etc. - prior to the event.
- Capture brainstorm items: Start jotting down ideas and notes on your mobile device, notebook or tablet. Organize and “bust out” those brainstorms into actionable deliverables for your team and organization.
- Assign tasks and avoid dropping the ball: Assign conference-related work with deadlines that are visible, easy for your team to access, and establish a course of action for before, during, and after the event.
- Provide visibility and progress: Show cross-functional teams and leadership the actions being taken after the event that will propel individuals, team, and the entire organization forward.
Make sure the next event, conference, or tradeshow you attend doesn’t become the casualty of “business as usual.” Take the spark of knowledge and ideas, and deliver the ROI you and your organization deserves.
At CORAS we’ve been developing solutions to business agility and work management since 2003. For an attendee-centric experience that provides value at all levels, as well as iterative processes, apps, mind maps, graphics and reporting, check out CORAS For Trade Shows and Conference Solutions: one program, one answer - Coras Trade Shows and Conference Solutions.