Make the Most out of Your Conference Investments

Conferences are a huge investment of time and money – between flights, lodging, sponsorships and admissions, a company can spend over $25,000 on a single event. In an industry focused on ROI, don’t you want to get the most out of each conference you attend?

Conferences are often a great reason to get out of the office, but it’s important to develop a game plan for your time away to ensure you and your company are getting the most out of it as possible. Here are a few easy ways to maximize your investment.

Before the Conference

Do Your Research. Walking into a room full of people you might not know can be intimidating… now let’s think about walking into a full conference. Prior to the conference, do your research and familiarize yourself with the speakers, vendors and hosts of the event. You can even take it a step further: If you see a session you’re interested in attending or a vendor you’d really like to speak to, research their contact information and reach out ahead of time. Conferences can get busy really quickly, so it’s important you do as much you can to plan any important meetings ahead of time.

Have Your Materials Ready. There’s nothing worse than having a thought-provoking, business-generating conversation, only to find yourself unprepared with the proper materials for follow up. Evaluate your business and current goals, and make a list of materials surrounding these objectives. Business cards, case studies, sell sheets – pack it all.


At the Conference

Network, Network, Network. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many professionals attend conferences just to speak to no one. Conferences present a unique opportunity in which industry professionals, vendors and influencers are all under one roof. While email and the internet provide limitless communication opportunities, there is truly nothing better than a firm handshake and a face-to-face conversation (especially if you did your pre-conference research!)

Don’t be afraid to exchange business cards when you meet someone new. Even if your conversation felt short and/or not fit for your current goals, you might be able to serve as a resource for one another in the future.

Take Notes. Conferences are a whirlwind of activity; a lot can happen in a very short period of time. You may speak to twenty people in one hour, so it’s important to keep track of the conversations and events that took place. Whether it’s in a notebook, on a tablet or in the notes of your phone, make sure you jot down a few notes when you have a breather. You’d be surprised how quickly little details you thought you’d remember, slip your mind.

Post About It. Now that you networked in-person, showcase your attendance on social media. More times than not, conferences have a designated hashtag that pulls all the conference updates and press together. This is a great channel to showcase your presence.

Social media also lets your clients and candidates know that you’re focusing on growing your business. By attending conferences you’re actively investing in ensuring your business is the best that it can be. One “little” post can truly go a long way!


Follow-Up. You just networked, networked, networked, so it’s important to complete your return on investment. Whether it’s connecting with everyone you spoke to on LinkedIn, or shooting them a brief email touching base, it’s important to extend your conversations beyond the walls of the conference. Your investment started at the event, and now it’s time to turn all that work into business.

Say “Thank You.” Whether it’s the conference organizers, sessions speakers, or other attendees (mentioned above), say “thank you.” A short and simple email can keep you top of mind when future opportunities start to come to fruition.

Conferences are as simple as that. Make the most of your investment so you can enjoy the fruits of your hard work later.

Elaine Materise

Elaine Materise
Elaine Materise is a social media marketing advisor with Haley Marketing Group. She can be reached at ematerise (at) haleymarketing (dot) com.

Elaine Materise

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