This is the season for seminars and conferences. Conferences are a great way to meet other professionals in your industry and to gain valuable knowledge. These events can offer great opportunities to network and make important business contacts. Following the tips below will help to ensure that the conferences you attend showcase you in the best possible light and will help to enhance your career opportunities.
1. Networking – In terms of networking, a conference can be a goldmine! This is the place where you are likely to meet key people in your field and can broaden your network of contacts. Take advantage of this. Make sure to get out there and speak to people. You never know, your next boss or business relationship could be right there in the room.
2. Business Cards – You want people to be able to reach out to you easily after the conference so be sure to bring an ample supply of business cards. The last thing you want is to make a great impression on someone and then not have a business card handy to give them.
3.Follow Up- After spending all that time networking at the event you don’t want to lose contact with those key people who have given you their business cards. Make sure to send them a short email letting them know that you enjoyed meeting them and that you hope to do business with them in the future.
4.Ask Questions- You want to get the most out of your conference so be sure to ask questions. This is a great way to clarify anything you don’t understand and will show the speaker and other attendees that you are interested in the presentation.
5. Take Notes- There will likely be a lot of information given at your conference and it may be nearly impossible to commit it all to memory. Be sure to bring a pen and paper so that you can take notes to refer to later.
6. Dining Etiquette- After you have done all your networking at the event, have impressed others with your knowledge and made some great contacts you don’t want to blow it at the dinner table. Remember your basic rules of dining etiquette while at the event.
7. Dress appropriately- One sure way to lose your confidence and possibly your credibility is to show up at a formal affair in casual attire. To avoid this embarrassment it is best to check ahead of time with the event organizer or someone familiar with it to ensure that you are dressed appropriately.
8. Be on Time- Most conferences are packed with valuable information so showing up late may mean that you miss out on something. In addition, arriving a few minutes early allows you to mingle and possibly make important connections so it is in your best interest to make sure that you’re on time if not a little early.
9. Don’t use the Seats Next to You – At a conference you never know how significant the next person you meet may be to your career. Be sure you don’t use the seat next to you for your coat or briefcase. Sitting next to someone is a great way to start talking.
10. Be ‘On Duty’ At All Times- If you are attending an out of town conference and are staying at their designated hotel be sure to remember that even though you are not technically working after the conference is over your behavior still reflects on your employer and your career. Nothing will squash a business opportunity faster than the combination of having too much to drink and having colleagues there to witness it. Avoid the walk of shame into the office the next day and be on your best behavior.
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