How To Get the Most Out of Your Conference or Event. Part #2: Speakers and Exhibitors
We continue our "How To Get the Most Out of Your Conference: Hosts, Attendees, Speakers and Exhibitors" article by looking at how speakers and exhibitors can get the best out of their conference or event experience. You can read about Hosts and Attendees maximising their conference experience in our previous article.
As a speaker you'll want to use any conference you speak at to promote your speaking abilities and to help publicise your brand to enable you to get further speaking engagements. To do this you will need to:
1. Make Your Presentation As Polished As Possible
A polished presentation which is professional, addresses the needs of the conference host and the attendees will go a long way to establishing yourself as a quality speaker who can be relied on to impart knowledge and invaluable information in a way that speaks to your audience.
Touch bases with the event host to find out what they expect from your presentation as this will help guide you on what their expectations are and will help you to finalise your thoughts before you begin preparing your presentation.
Practice makes perfect. So practice, practice, practice until you know your presentation inside out. That way if the technology fails you'll still be able to give a polished presentation.
2. Make Yourself Easy to Find
Every presentation and speaking engagement will give you more visibility which can be used to advance your business goals.
If you're looking to "sell" your services do it discreetly by talking about how you and your company can help. Giving "real life" examples of problems and how you can solve them will go a long way to showing attendees how your services can be applied to them.
At the end of your presentation, put up a thank you slide which tells people how to find you and your company. List multiple ways for them to contact you e.g. email, telephone, social media (especially LinkedIn) - make it easy for them to get in touch!
If you've written about the topic you're covering in your presentation e.g. on your website or in an eBook mention of it on your thank you page and make it easy to get to by including a QR code that links to where they can find more information or to a sign up form to capture their contact details. You can use sites like http://www.qrstuff.com/ to generate a free QR code.
3. Market Yourself
Don't rely on the conference host to promote your presentation - be proactive in marketing yourself. Let people know that you will be presenting by publishing details on your website and via the various social media platforms and industry websites.
Make sure any industry profiles you have online are comprehensive and up to date (including your latest speaker engagements). Many people will look at these profiles, LinkedIn being one platform in particular where people are likely to look for you.
Start promoting as soon as your guest speaker spot is confirmed and continue to promote right up until the day of the conference.
4. Use the Opportunity to Meet Other Speakers and Attendees
By taking advantage of your "speaker status" you can meet other speakers that you may otherwise not get the opportunity to engage with. Introduce yourself and use the chance to network.
By talking to other speakers you may be able to leverage their networks and other people they know. Talk to them about their future speaking engagements and if they know of other opportunities that would be open to you. It's also worth finding out if they know of anyone who offers guest blogging opportunities if you're looking for a chance to write and publish online articles. Last but not least don't forget to connect on social media after the conference to fully leverage the connections you've made.
If you get a free ticket to other sessions in the conference you should also use this as a networking opportunity to talk to attendees.
When you attend a conference or an event as an exhibitor you are normally looking to sell your services or products and will want to see a return on your investment (ROI). This will usually mean getting new customers but it may be that you are simply looking to network and build brand awareness or establish your company with a view to selling your services at a later date.
1. Generate Leads and Sell To New Customers
Conferences and events are the perfect opportunity for businesses to promote themselves. It's therefore important to focus on meeting and engaging with attendees and getting your company information in front of them.
Always be ready to talk, look happy and available. There is nothing worse than staff that look unhappy and uninterested.
How can you stand out from the crowd and attract visitors to your stand? Attendees want to be engaged and hosting a demonstration of your product, holding a live contest or giving away services for free that you would normally charge for can help attract attention and visitors to your stand.
Once you have that attention be sure to follow through by talking to people and collecting contact information that can be followed up later (don't forget to let visitors to your stand know that you will be contacting them after the event by email to prevent any correspondence you send being labelled as spam).
2. Go Local or Go Global
Conferences can be local or global events so if you are looking to expand your business further afield a global event maybe better suited to your needs.
Of course if you want to stay local e.g. perhaps you sell IT services and want to work with local businesses who are looking for support for the PCs and MACs then a conference or event that is targeted to local attendees only would work better for your business.
3. Measure ROI
Based on the cost of your stand plus your time you should be able to measure whether an event has given you a good ROI.
You may not be able to measure ROI immediately if your goal is simply to collect contact details. It may take some time to recoup your investment but you should still have a good idea if a particular event has been a good match for you and if you are likely to see a return later.
4. Meet Other Businesses
Great partnerships can be built at conferences so it's worth checking what other companies will be attending and researching what companies would complement your business.
Spend a little bit of time researching those companies you want to meet and if possible arrange to meet at the event (either before or after). If that isn't possible try to touch bases with them on their stand (but be careful as many businesses can become annoyed if you take up their time and they feel they are missing customers and leads).
Use the event to cultivate great partnerships and move your business forward and don't forget to factor this into your ROI if this was one of your goals.
Conference and Event Management
If you are looking for a partner to arrange your conference or event then Booking Partners can help by finding the right venue to meet your requirements. For conference room bookings and event management contact us on +44 (0)330 022 8643 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.