Going to a big conference is always exciting. But with each conference you have to find the best approach on how to get the most out of it. We have put together a few tips to help you prepare so you can make these big conferences, a big success.
The first and most important tip is to bring a lot of business cards. Hand your business cards out like candy and make sure your business card is memorable. Add a fun design or flair to it to make them stand out (for example an amusing drawing of yourself, this stands out and will serve as a reminder of who you are for the people that receive your card).
For the cards you receive during the event, add a quick note to them to remember the person who gave it to you. For example, add ‘rainbow t-shirt’ or ‘loves sunglasses’. When doing this you will remember them better when you look at the business cards at a later time. In general, whenever you meet someone; at presentations, during networking drinks, make notes. It is always a good thing to write down what you heard, what stood out, and what you found interesting. This will also give you an angle to start later conversations with this person.
Plan meetings in advance
The third tip is to plan your meetings in advance as much as possible. This gives you a clear schedule you can follow and gives you breathing space because you know what to expect. When planning meetings beforehand, try to plan as many meetings as possible during the first day(s) of the event. This way you can still plan meetings with the people you meet during the event later in the week.
The next tip is to never eat alone! All moments during a conference are networking opportunities, even a quick lunch. While getting lunch, try to look for people who you find interesting and go sit with them and introduce yourself. You never know what the turnout will be.
This tip might be stating the obvious, but be prepared. Not just during your planned meetings, also make sure you are always ready to present what you have to offer at any other time of the day. You never know who you will run into inside or outside the event. Who knows, maybe you will run into your future business partner at a party. Be ready to talk about who you are and what you have to offer.
Therefore, another tip is to lay low on the alcohol. Even at night when there are parties going on. Try to remain sharp and focused, which means drinking less or no alcohol. If you cannot resist and you do get a drink, try to drink slowly to not get intoxicated. Also, visit as many parties as possible. Outside of the event is where the real networking takes place. Go say ‘hi!’ at as many places as you can, hand-out business cards and have a quick chat with several people before you go to the next party.
The final tip is to stand out! At big events there are a lot of people. A good way to stand out is by using your attire. Wearing a brightly colored t-shirt with a crazy image on it may not be the most business looking outfit but it will draw attention to you. And if you dare to stand out, this will give other people an easy and casual way to start talking to you about what you are wearing, which may lead to a conversation that turns out to be important for your career!
Hopefully, you found these tips helpful. Especially for first-timers attending a big conference! Visiting a huge event is always overwhelming the first time, but it gets better every year when you start to getting used to the venue, country, structure, and when you recognize more and more faces every time. You will never be completely prepared, but go with the flow and some amazing things that you did not foresee might happen to you!
In case you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us.
MeetToMatch is a premium event networking service present at events all over the world. They aim for high engagement and increased revenue for event organizers through their active communication strategy and premium service on-site during the event. They are most active in the games industry, with over 20 game events working with MeetToMatch last year.