May 27, 2016

10 Tips for Attending an Industry Conference

Tips for attending industry conferences

Tips for Attending an Industry Conference

Attending a industry conference soon? Do you want to know some helpful tips on how to maximize your experience? We have got you covered. Below are ten tips to remember, whether it is your first time attending a conference or you are a conference attendee veteran.

1. Wear Appropriate Attire
This may seem like an obvious first tip but you will be surprised how many attendees are not dressed as though they are going to meet a future employer. Do not be one of these people. You will be meeting a lot of new faces and wearing the appropriate attire can help make a good first impression.

2. Have Resumes and Business Cards Handy
There will be plenty of time to converse with panelist and other people during the conference. If you are interested in a job opening they may have, be prepared to hand them an updated resume, free of grammatical errors. A great way to make sure you can connect with the person afterwards is to exchange business cards. Write down a brief description of what you talked about on the back of the card to help spark your memory when reaching out to them.

3. Go Solo
Many people make the mistake of only attending an event if their friends or coworkers are going. We understand that meeting up with friends can be comforting when in an environment with complete strangers but it is extremely unproductive. There is a tendency to form a clique, walk around together, sit together and only speak to one another. A conference is a place where you should meet new people, learn about the industry and receive advice on how to have a successful career in sport. The best chance you have to accomplish those objectives is to go to the conference on your own.

4. Do Your Research
Often times there will be a schedule of the conference released to individuals interested in attending. Take that opportunity to highlight some people you really want to hear speak or introduce yourself to. Find out information about their career path and what issues are important to them. This strategy will help you efficiently and effectively communicate with them when given the chance to.

5. Catch Plenty of Z’s the Night Before
A sport industry conference can be an all-day event or an event that takes place over several days. A lot of cool and intriguing topics will be covered but let’s face it, not all of them will interest you. Make sure to get plenty of rest the night before so you do not insult the panelist and embarrass yourself by nodding off in the audience.

6. Put Your Phone Away
Unless you are recording what the panelist are saying, live tweeting the event or getting contact information from a person you just met, leave your phone in your pocket. Those work emails or text messages from your significant other about what you want for dinner that night can wait. It is discourteous to the panelist who have taken their valuable time to come speak at the conference if you are constantly on your phone. Also it might prevent people from approaching you during breaks because you look busy or disinterested in the event.

7. Moderation is Key
Yes, you probably paid a pretty penny for a ticket to the conference and yes, those chocolate chip cookies keep calling your name but try and contain yourself. You do not want to be the one who looks like the only reason you attended the conference was for the “free” food and drinks or the one that is constantly talking to people with a mouth full. We are not saying you don’t want to stay nourished and hydrated throughout the long day but spend less time at the snack table and more time building relationships.

8. Fresh Breath
Have you ever heard the saying “A breath mint a day keeps the bad breath away?” Okay, neither have we but since there will be food and drinks offered throughout the day it is highly recommended you bring breath mints with you. You will be engaging in a lot of conversations and you do not want your breath to be a reason someone will want to end it with you.

9. Take Notes
There are going to be so many great panelist giving advice on how to get started in the industry, what steps to take to be successful and quotes that will inspire and motivate you to do great things in the future. There is no way you can retain all of that useful information without some help so make sure to bring a pen and note pad to transcribe it all on.

10. Send A Follow-Up Note
Although you most likely will not conduct a formal interview with someone at the conference, sending a hand written thank you note to a person for giving you the time to speak with them can help you stand out from the crowd. A handwritten note is more appreciated than an email because it shows that you made an effort to thank them individually and not through some generic email template. A simple thank you note can help you reconnect with the person, help you land a mentor in the industry and even lead to new job opportunities.