Conference Attending 101

By Amber Ooley

Heading to a conference soon? Well, lucky you! Conferences are not only an amazing learning tool, they’re also an opportunity to network with like-minded folks and gain a new perspective on your industry.

We did some research and have a few things to share that may help you prepare for your next (or first) conference, wherever that may be.

PREPARE YOURSELF

Dress to impress. Professional attire is always the way to go.

What’s in the bag? Here’s a list of everything you’ll need for the day:

  • Notebook + pen (when the Wifi goes down, you’ll be prepared)
  • Phone (silent mode, please)
  • Laptop or tablet (don’t forget the charger!)
  • Business cards
  • Water bottle + snacks

THE MAIN EVENT

Network. Use this time to say hello to former classmates and introduce yourself to new faces, you’ll be impressed at how quickly you can find a connection—it’s a small world after all.

Note-taking. Keep the pen to the paper—or the fingers on the keyboard. Abbreviations are your BFF! A few popular ones are below, but you can access the full list here.

  • SM = Social Media
  • CS = Customer Service
  • UGC = User-generated content
  • FTW = For the win!
  • WTF = Where’s the food?

Tweet. Twitter is HUGE for events, especially conferences, and there’s usually a designated hashtag to include in all of your tweets.

PRO TIP: Spend a few minutes ahead of time and create a list of all the speakers, influencers and brands attending. Then, use a dashboard like Tweetdeck to follow along (in real time) and engage as much as possible.

Facebook + Instagram. Throw in a photo or video to show you’re capable of more than 140 characters. These channels are great for capturing the venue, faces or new places—if you get a break to escape.

Curate. Don’t stress about being the sole sharer of everything. Utilize the RT and give your fingers a break. This is also a great opportunity to ask questions or strike up conversations with the other attendees and speakers through social channels. It’s easy to follow the hashtags for finding relevant content to share.

Blog. We’re not saying you need to write lengthy posts, but consider writing a short recap after each session, or each day. This will be appreciated by the rest of your team, your followers and those who weren’t able to attend the conference.

Video. Put your smartphone to use and share quick vlogs or pull speakers aside and interview them. We’d recommend keeping it brief because, let’s be real, you’re not the only one dying to get an autograph. We recommend YouTube and Periscope for channels to share videos or livestreams.

“CAN I GET A RECAP?”

Your bosses and coworkers can’t wait for you to get back in the office and share EVERYTHING you just learned. Rather than trying to memorize and share your notes right away, why not put together a recap presentation and gather the team for a learning session?

You can create a deck to present to your team, then upload it to SlideShare and share it on your personal and company LinkedIn / Facebook / Twitter channels to expand the reach of your conference takeaways.

After it’s been shared with your professional network, go through and pull out trends or topics you may not have fully grasped or needed to gather more information on, do the research and write up a longer blog post on that topic at a later date.

REUSE. RECYCLE. REPURPOSE.

Conferences are a content marketer’s best friend. Compile your notes and find ways to repurpose the things you learned and transform them into new pieces of content. Here are some ideas to start with:

  • Create a podcast or video series and host Q&A interviews with some of the people you met, maybe speakers, to talk about the trending topics you pulled away from the conference.
  • Blog about things you learned, tools you started using or books you were recommended from speakers. Sharing actionable pieces of content are loved by many.
  • Share bits of knowledge learned with your email list and make sure that it’s relevant to them and their industry.

Whether you’re a rookie or hall-of-famer conference goer, we’d love to hear how you prepare for these fantastic events.

Comment below or send us a note at social@swimcreative.com.

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