In preparation for SuperInvestor, we discuss our top tips for preparing for a conference. We also discuss how to get the most out of a conference when there and how to follow up afterwards.
It’s the twilight hour; a magical time when rays of late autumn sun dance playfully from watch bezels to belt buckles.
But all is not well.
A deep sense of panic.
A knotting of the stomach.
A spontaneous bead of sweat.
It’s the final networking event at SuperInvestor and you have only collected 3 business cards.
The marketing team are going to straight-up murder you!
Overwhelmed, the room starts to spin, and your last recollection is a steady hand guiding you purposefully to a comfy chair.
Fortunately for you, while many learned a new language or a musical instrument during lockdown (thank you, “determined trumpet neighbour”), Loud and Clear was busy domesticating all of time and space in preparation for a moment just like this.
As you relax into vermillion bouclé, I escort you through the tie-dyed time tunnel to exactly 3 days before the conference. It’s rather difficult to explain but transcending the boundaries of space and time results in any spoken or written words being translated into handy, bulleted lists – always of three items.
- I am the host of conference past (compliance wants me to make it very clear that I am NOT a ghost – and I have nothing to do with Christmas)
- due to budgetary considerations, I am also the host of conference present and conference future
- follow my top tips below to get the most out of Superinvestor (or any other conference)
Before the conference
First things first – set some goals
- What do you want to achieve from attending?
- Be specific and ensure every goal is quantifiable
- Understand the three things that everyone you speak to should remember about you/your company after the conference. If you are unsure, speak to your marketing team. If they are unsure, speak to us!
Plan your day. Properly.
- Spend some time with the conference agenda (you HAVE downloaded it already, right?) and pick out a few sessions for each day
- Don’t just pick sessions that you find interesting or that cover subjects you want to learn more about – think about who will be in the room with you. For example, if you are a GP looking to raise assets, pick at least one session per day which will likely attract LPs
If you have access, take a look at the delegate list and identify some key people you want to meet
- If you are able, reach out to them and arrange a time to connect
- Extend your list beyond potential clients and into potential introducers. The fastest way to extend your network is to get help from well-connected people
- Don’t forget to let existing contacts know you will be there!
During the conference
Always be an active listener
- When in a session, make notes. This simple act will engage you more in the presentation/discussion and put you in a better position to learn, ask insightful questions, and discuss the session with other attendees (or those who missed it)
Be prepared to ask (and answer) some simple ice-breakers e.g.
- Have any sessions or speakers stood out to you so far?
- Were there any sessions you missed that you had hoped to see (hopefully you attended one of these and can offer an insightful summary)?
- Was there anything you were hoping to see more of on the agenda?
Try to help
- The most effective networkers offer help before asking for help
- Your first priority when meeting someone new should be to find out how you can help them – and that doesn’t mean selling your product or services
After the conference
Help your marketing team help you
- Ensure new contacts are entered into your database and existing ones are updated
- Schedule a debrief to give your honest feedback about the conference
Assess your performance
- Compare your actual performance to the goals you set before the conference
- Did you meet the people you wanted to, and did you make the right impression with them?
- How could you improve your performance for the next conference?
Follow up. Properly
- Organise the list of people you met into different categories e.g. “hot lead” or “potential introducer”
- For each category decide on an appropriate next activity. For hot leads it might be a product demonstration or introduction to a sales team. For potential introducers it might be a lunch or other, less formal, activity
- Whatever you decide, make sure you reach out to them within a week.