The Fall event season is just around the corner. August through October are huge months for events and conferences, and I imagine many of you are filling your calendar and getting business cards ready to make a splash. But is that all you need to do to prepare?
Below is a thorough checklist that you should complete before, during, and after every event you attend to make sure you get the most value possible out of both your time and money spent.
The Ultimate Event Checklist:
Prepare for Your Event:
☐ Set a goal. Why are you attending? To learn? Meet prospects? Network? Set a specific goal for your time at this event so you have a mission in mind while you're there.
☐ Review the sessions first and choose what you want to attend. Don't waste time meandering around while you figure out what to do next. Plan out your sessions so you can get a good seat in front and be exactly where you want to be at all times.
☐ Look at the attendee list and decide who you want to meet. Wouldn't it be great to have a few meetings scheduled in advance? If the attendee list is public, this is simple and easy to do. Find a name, connect with them on LinkedIn, and include an invitation to meet them in your invitation note. If it's not public, why not look up the event's Twitter hashtag and send a tweet to see who's going?
☐ Create a one-sentence introduction to your company. You should be able to explain your company and the value it provides simply and quickly. If you don't have a clear and concise elevator pitch yet, no better time than the present!
During Your Event:
☐ Introduce yourself to a speaker who inspired you. You're not limited to networking only with other attendees, you know. Why not introduce yourself to a speaker you really enjoyed? Influencers are valuable people to have in your network.
☐ Take notes, or tweets! Don't let the conference information go in one ear and out the other. Take notes on a laptop. If you don't feel like taking standard notes, live tweet using the event hashtag and review your tweets later.
☐ Meet at least 15 new people. And learn something different about them other than their name and company. Family? Hobbies? Role? Interests? By learning something interesting or unique about a new contact, you'll be more likely to remember that person when you see them again.
☐ Collect content. Lots of it, and don't limit yourself. Video interviews? Photos? Quotes? Soundbites? You name it. Collecting content now will make great inbound marketing fodder later.
After Your Event:
☐ Write a blog article that critiques or summarizes the event. And the quicker you can post your article, the better. I even recommend you have your first article posted before the event is even over! If you're the first to have a write-up, it's more likely to be shared, tweeted, emailed, and indexed in Google. Don't worry if it's not perfect. You can edit the live version when you get back to your desk.
☐ Follow your new contacts on Twitter and/or LinkedIn. It's important to stay in touch with your new network in order to get some value from it. Take an hour to go through your business cards and add new contacts to your various social networks. Be sure to keep it personal, and send either a note via tweet or a LinkedIn message so they know who you are and remember you.
☐ Teach your colleagues. Use your new knowledge as an opportunity to teach others and become a mini-thoughtleader within your own company. Take your notes (or Twitter stream) and create a list of takeaways to share with your colleages. Did you grab a copy of the presenter's slides off of slideshare? Do your own version of the presentation in your words. Spread the value!
☐ Start doing something differently. What new lesson can you start implementing now? Use your new set of tools and knowledge as ammo to start doing something better at your company. Of course, it all comes down to results!
Print this out and use it as a reminder at your next event! Any other tips you'd include? Any tip you especially appreciate?