So many people love conferences, but it’s easy to feel bombarded with so many out there! As an industry professional with a strong network, I must say attending conferences has been a major key to my success. Over the years, I have attended over 30 or more conferences, so I definitely know a thing or two about what makes a conference great and how to decide which is the best one for you.
Being someone that is goal-driven, it can be a hard task to figure out which conference to attend. With so much information out there and so many options, we wanted to give you a few tips on how to get the best bang for your buck when deciding on an event planning conference to go to.
It’s important to understand where you are in your career. If you’re just starting out, it’s best to attend as many conferences as you can to connect with like-minded individuals and to grow your name and brand. As you grow in seniority in your field, it will be easier to be more selective as to what conferences you attend, since you’ll be more experienced on exactly what it is that you need to learn.
- Examine Your Goals
First, it’s essential to take a look at what you are looking to accomplish. Once you know what your goals are for the next year to five years, it will be easier to select which conferences you should attend. If the conference you’ve been eyeing does not align with your direct goals, it will be much easier to say ‘no’ and to turn your focus on to conferences that truly will help you get to the next level in your business.
- Take A Look At Who Is Putting The Conference Together
There’s a saying: All that glitters ain’t gold. Which especially rings true in this era of conferences and workshops. It’s important to know that the person who’s putting this event together has a proven track record of successful conferences. After all, it IS an investment into yourself and the growth of your business. If it’s their first large conference, take a look at prior work they’ve done in the past. Whether it’s work with clients, or just being consistent with their brand messaging on social media, it’s important to know WHO you are purchasing from. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it’s easy for people to create an image that isn’t really who they are. It’s important to make sure that what you’re putting your money in, you will see the return on investment.
- Take A Look At Testimonials
Just like when you are buying a product on Amazon, or any online site, taking a look at testimonials will help you to see exactly what you’ll be getting out of the conference. Conferences that have repeat attendees show that the money in which they invested was money well-spent. Testimonials are a sure fire way to see if this is the right conference for you or not. You’ll get to see exactly what people took away from prior conferences, to see if the conference you have your eye on is worth spending your hard-earned money on.
- See Who Will Be Speaking At The Conference
Sometimes it’s not all about who put together the conference, but who will be speaking there as well. If there’s an industry professional that you are looking to connect with that will be speaking at the conference, this is a great time to try and connect. This way, you’ll be getting up close and personal with someone who you admire in the industry, while networking with like-minded colleagues. Sounds like a win-win to me!
- Put Together A Budget
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Conferences can get expensive, but it’s important to see what your budget is and how it fits in to your current stream of income. And remember, just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s good. Also, just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s the right conference for you. If the price of flight and hotel-lodging is included in the price of your conference ticket, this shows a for sure effort on the planners side. A lot of conferences have high ticket costs that simply do not include money for flight or lodging. Remember to factor in these expenses when planning a budget. Also remember to take a look at the previous points we’ve made to see if it’s still the right fit for you.
And don’t forget..always come to conferences with a game plan in mind. If it’s to connect with one of the speakers, do your research on them so you can strike up an interesting conversation. If it’s to connect with your fellow colleagues, go with a plan to be open and socialize! If it’s to put your head down and get as much information as you can, come prepared with how you’re going to take notes and immediately implement the information being given to you.
Above all, attending a conference is a great feat that you should definitely give yourself a pat on the back for. Not everyone is willing to do what it takes to see their desired result in their field. If you’re reading this, I know that you take the work that you do and your career very seriously. Kudos to you!
If you’re an event planner or business professional, we would love to see you at the Let’s Plan Conference this year, from July 18-19. This year, we will be at the Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina, we also have an even more dynamic line-up than we had last year. We look forward to seeing you!