5 Habits of Highly Successful Conference Goers


With conference season in full swing, it’s likely that you or a colleague will soon be attending an event. These events are great places to gather information. But the best benefit of attending a conference is the opportunity to meet with a lot of likeminded people in one place. Not surprising, face-to-face interactions still rank No. 1 for building long-term business relationships. There’s just no substitute for the kind of energy and connection that happens when you get together in person.

JAGGAER attends multiple events each year for this very reason. No matter what conference you’re attending, here are 5 tips to make the most of your time.

1. Show up for the trade show.

It’s tempting to skip the trade show after a long day of sessions. But this is the single best forum for information gathering and networking. At no other time or place will you get the opportunity to see and hear about as many products specific to your job and industry in one place. So slip on comfortable shoes, stretch out, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and plan to stay a while.

2. Plan your work and work your plan

You get out of it what you put into it holds true for conferences. For starters, learn the program guide and exhibitor list inside and out. This will help you prioritize your day based on the sessions you want to attend, the exhibitors you want to meet, and the people and companies you want to talk to. It’s worth setting up appointments in advance so that you don’t waste too much time browsing and talking to people you already know. Do research beforehand so you are well prepared.

3. Downtime is uptime

While conference agendas are packed, there are plenty of open windows. If there are specific people you want to see, don’t leave it to chance. Schedule time during breaks and meal times or meet for a pre-breakfast coffee or dinner. The most successful attendees arrive with a checklist and pre-arranged appointments.

4. Focus on quality, not quantity

As an exhibitor, it’s interesting to watch the race to collect giveaways, or event “swag.” Sure, attendees stop and often have meaningful conversations but your best strategy is to focus on quality time with relevant vendors or peers. The value of tchotchkes plunge after the trade show with hotels reporting that more 70 percent are left behind.

5. Pay it forward

Likely you or only a few from your organization will attend any one event. When you see or hear information helpful to others in your organization, be sure to take notes, collect information and pass it along. Social media, specifically conference-specific hashtags, is great for this. This is not only good for your company, it’s good for your career. Not only will you return with expertise on industry trends but you may be able to introduce a new and innovative solution.

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