Nowadays, affiliates have an abundance of events to choose from. But there’s a slight problem that arises from that – too much choice can be a bad thing. If you don’t think things through, then there’s every chance that you’ll pick the wrong ones to attend.
After last November’s SiGMA conference in Malta, Joonas Karhu – Chief Business Officer at Bojoko – notably wrote an open letter to the conference. Published in the Times of Malta, he expressed his disappointment at the shift in focus moving away from operators and affiliates. He added one line that we should note in particular:
“There are so many industry conferences each year that operators and affiliates have to choose which ones to attend”.
With that in mind, how can you make sure that you’re going to conferences that will move you closer to your business goals? And how do you maximise your experience when you’re there? That’s what we’ll discuss today.
Start with ‘why’
This is good general guidance for all of your life decisions, but even more so in the context we’re discussing. Why do you want to attend a particular event? What’s in it for you and how will you achieve a positive return on investment?
Of course, you first need to understand your business goals before answering those questions. That’s why it’s necessary to spend time not just setting these, but also assessing where you’re at on a regular basis.
Once you’ve identified why you want to attend a particular conference. Ask yourself further questions. Identify who you plan to meet, what you’re looking to achieve and so on.
Be prepared to add value
Every relationship – both on business and personal levels – are two-way streets. As you prepare for your next event, it’s vital that you’re up-to-date with what’s going on and could happen soon within the industry.
However, it’s not enough to merely read. You should be forming your own opinions on current affairs and be prepared to share these thoughts with others.
By doing this, you’ll not just make yourself more valuable in conversations but also build trust with potential partners. It’ll be clear to them that you know what you’re talking about and practice what you preach.
Start networking well in advance
Pretty much everybody is on social media these days. In part, we have platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter to thank for the rise in so many successful online businesses. And for you, it means that the networking begins well before you walk through the venue doors.
In addition to planning your meetings beforehand, you should also be utilising LinkedIn to connect with people you’d like to explore getting closer with. Think of it as an additional networking party and an opportunity to break the ice beforehand.
By putting more effort into your networking before the event, it’ll feel like you’re catching up with long-standing friends once you’re there. And since the initial work has already been done, you can move forward with discussing the important topics.
With so many events to choose from, understanding your overall objectives and preparing in advance is vital for making sure that your efforts aren’t wasted. Before all else, you need to identify exactly why you want to attend and how you can achieve what you set out to do there.
With an abundance of technology and comprehensive agendas, there are no excuses not to connect with fellow delegates before you go. Starting conversations in advance will warm people up to you and also show that you provide value. And if you find that the list attendees or panel discussions aren’t aligned with your objectives, then spend your time and money elsewhere.
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