Monetize your Mingle: Four Steps to Maximize Your Conference Experiences this Fall
Fall is finally here - and that means conference season is kicking into high gear. Many of our clients are thinking about how they are going to sort through the morass of events on the calendar to hone in on the few that can provide real value to their business.
At Prosek, we talk about “monetizing the mingle”. Here’s what we are advising our clients to keep in mind as they approach selecting which events to attend this year.
Before you even set foot in the conference venue, it is important to be clear on what will constitute success for you and your business.
Ask yourself: Why are we attending? What do we hope to achieve by the end of the conference?
At Prosek, we think about the four main areas of opportunity at events:
- Access to LPs/investors
- Access to deal flow opportunities
- Access to journalists and media
- Opportunities for branding/profile raising
Almost no conference will deliver equally in all four categories. The key is to identify what is important to you and how you will achieve it. Setting specific and measurable goals is how you will tailor your conference experience and determine the best use of your time, money and resources.
The challenge with any conference is rarely how to fill your calendar, but rather how to pick and choose from all that is available.
While some conferences offer exceptional content, most of the value of attendance lies outside the exhibition halls in networking and attending pre-set meetings.
Find out who is going to be there and plan your meetings in advance. What are the private events (meetings, dinners, receptions, etc.) – and, more importantly, and how do you gain access to those? These tend to be where the marquee attendees are.
And be sure to allocate time for breaks and leave plenty of room for serendipity. It is during these informal interactions that some of the most valuable connections are made.
Most people attend conferences to meet other people - we are either establishing new relationships or deepening existing ones.
The concept of ‘networking’, however, tends to fill people with dread. To maximize your efforts and reduce your stress, here are a few tips for spending the right time with the right people:
- Do your homework. Know who is in the room, study their bios and identify common points of interest in advance.
- Be approachable. Wear a friendly demeanor. Smile, and be open to initiating conversations with strangers.
- Listen and learn. Spend as much time - if not more - listening and asking questions as you do talking about yourself. People will appreciate you taking an interest in their experiences and insights.
- Exchange details, and don’t forget to follow-up. After the conference, reach out to the people you met, follow up on conversations and see how you can genuinely be helpful. Building relationships is a long-term game. The more you give, the more you will receive.
If you’re doing this right, the conference is only the beginning. Every event is an opportunity to continue to build your network and close new business.
Keep track of your new contacts and find opportunities to reconnect and keep in touch. It can be very difficult to trace closing a new contract or investment back to one specific event, but chances are, the groundwork for that deal was set over time, over multiple interactions. Each conference is a chance to continue that work.
Attending a conference is an investment in your professional growth, but its true value lies in the strategic approach you take to maximize your time and resources.
By setting clear objectives, planning ahead, engaging actively, networking purposefully and implementing what you've learned, you can maximize your time and return on investment.
Monetizing your mingle takes strategic, connected support. Prosek Partners’ Conference Concierge team knows how to maximize your experience by focusing on what, and who, matters. Contact Conference Concierge to learn more at email@example.com.