How do you get the most value from attending a Conference or business event? Before leaving your home/office, please consider spending some time preparing for that event. A little preparation will no doubt add value to your overall conference experience.

Here’s a checklist as you prepare:

  1. Decide on a budget. Conferences often have vendors with products you may find useful to your business or products that may benefit your customers. In order to make meaningful purchases, prepare a reasonable budget and try to stick to it.
  2. Emotional purchases. Vendors will probably be there during the full course of the conference. Feel free to browse products, consider the purchase during the conference and then return to make the purchase if you still think it will benefit you or your business.
  3. Carry plenty of business cards. Be sure your cards are clean and not frayed or bent. Read up on the etiquette of business cards and act accordingly.
  4. Prepare and practice your elevator speech.  Tweak it to fit your audience’s needs and practice a smooth delivery.
  5. Be prepared to meet new people. Try to avoid the urge to sit with colleagues you already know. Reach out to individuals you have never met before or that you would like to know better or learn more about their business.
  6. Pay attention to the expected dress code. Feel free to add a signature piece to make you more memorable. This will help as you do follow-up.
  7. If there is opportunity for Q and A, ask questions. This helps with clarification. Make comments if you found something in the speaker’s presentation insightful or if you can share something of value related to the talk and topic.
  8. Use social media to your advantage before you leave home and during the conference. This is an opportunity to touch your customers and your potential customers. Tweet, use Instagram, post on Facebook. to share your anticipation and your positive conference experience. However, refrain from using social media during presentations. Find the time for social media engagement during your breaks and immediately after the conference ends.
  9. Don’t overlook attending the networking reception. This is a great time to further connect with conference speakers and attendees. Share notes and thoughts with each other about what you have heard and experienced.

Of course there are many other great reasons for attending business conferences. In getting the most value from attending any conference or business event, a little preparation goes a long way.  This will ultimately increase your ROI and have a greater impact on your business or career.