Tuesday, February 12, 2013

3 Tips to Get More From Your Conference

Seamless video wall

I’ve been a part of hundreds of conferences and seen every type of meeting and convention setup. I’ve seen things go right, and I’ve certainly seen things go wrong.

One of the things I see go wrong most often is people wasting an opportunity to get more out of their event attendance, costing themselves or their company a lot of money.

Sure, sometimes we consider a conference little more than a chance to get out of the office. Other times we dread the meetings and our goal is to just make it through the day (or days) without passing out in our chair drooling on the guy next to us.

Fortunately, improved technology - especially visual tech - is making many well-designed events much more appealing, and tablets are helping us get things done in down time or in the midst of an uninspiring speaker’s drawl. But there are some other simple things you can do to get a little more out of your next meeting or convention experience.

Here are three tips for doing so, whether it’s a show you love or one you dread.

Provide unexpected value 

If it’s a conference you value, give your boss a reason to value it more. Even if you’re not part of your company’s marketing arm, come back with ideas for them. Jot down what you learned and suggest them as blog post topics, or jot down what went wrong - those make great conversation pieces as well.

Does your company do social media? Offer to send notes for Facebook updates or tweets from the conference. Take pictures with your phone that might be relevant to your customers and pass them along.

Note the conference technology

At Rentfusion we provide state-of-the-art laptops, video walls, and tablets to companies all around the country for meetings and trade shows. This technology is changing the experience of presenters and attendees. Take notes on what grabs your attention and why, and present that to your supervisor.

It’s a great way to show that you’re thinking outside your silo and kill down time at the event.

Make the most of a bad idea

You’re sent on the road for two days of meetings or trainings you don’t value when you’re already buried at work. How do you get through it without losing your mind?

Bring a mobile device. Whether it’s a tablet or a smartphone, bringing these can keep you connected while being discreet, just like when you tucked the crossword into your notebook during psychology lectures in college.

Choose the tablet over the laptop to take advantage of mobile Internet access, just in case the conference connection goes down. Sitting through two hours of bad jokes or presentations is a lot more satisfying when you can at least clear a few emails.

And when you lie down the night before the conference, make sure it’s on the charger!

I’d love to hear more tricks on what you do to get the most out of events - the good and the bad, especially what leaves you with a lasting impression. Drop a note in the comments please!