Maximising Business Events: A Simple Guide

We all want to make the most from attending business events, right?  After all, we’re investing valuable time and resources. Add to that, the cost of the event, and it makes perfect sense to want to maximise our results and outcomes from each and every business event we attend.

Whether it’s a conference, industry seminar, workshop or business networking event, finding ways to maximise your participation can lead to valuable connections, insights, and opportunities. Attending business events can certainly be a game-changer for your professional growth and business development, so here are a few simple ideas to help you make the most of maximising your outcomes at any business event you attend.

Effective Pre-Event Preparation Ideas

Just showing up at a business growth event won’t guarantee success. Preparation is key to success. Before even booking the event, it’s likely you’ll have done some research.  Time and resources are precious, so there is usually a reason to attend the business growth and local events you choose.  Researching the event’s agenda, speaker bios and attendees will help identify the ideal outcomes, the people you want to align and connect with, and allow you to get clear and write down goals for what you want to achieve.

Remember, first impressions matter. Your research should give you some insight into the dress code for the event.  Some events can be quite formal, so dress appropriately.

Ensure you have a strong introduction, and be ready to succinctly make a good first impression when asked that familiar networking question most business owners dread: “So….what do you do?”  But also be prepared with the intention to listen to others.  The old advice of having ‘two ears and one mouth for a reason’ stands in good stead at local business events.

Effective preparation also includes taking business cards or having a simple way for connections to get in touch with you after the event. These days, digital cards are becoming popular, but make sure the process is easy and you’re not left floundering when asked for contact details.

Setting Clear Goals for Event Attendance

Every business event you attend is different.  Even if it’s a regular local business event, or a business growth event you attend monthly, there will be different factors to consider, such as speakers, possible business education outcomes, a variety of people attending.  So, in simple terms, it’s recommended you research each event you attend and set clear goals for the event before attending. Define what you want to achieve for each event. Write down 1-3 goals that will maximise your outcomes.  And mix it up a bit.  Don’t stick to the same goals every time you attend a recurring event, for example.  Relate your goals to the specific event, the speaker and the attendees.  You may have an objective to have a conversation with a particular attendee, while another goal may be to pick a valuable takeaway from the education and expertise provided. You may want to achieve some extra business exposure.

When you write down your objectives, you can keep them in mind throughout the event to guide your interactions and activities.

Engaging with Speakers and Panelists

Often, your attendance at business growth events is because you have an interest in the keynote speaker or their expertise, or perhaps the panel discussion topic.  If the subject is of interest to you, it makes sense to research the speakers and get to know a little about them and their history.

Before the event, have a look at their website, or connect with them on social media. If you are interested in the topic, to get the most and maximise your outcomes, you can prepare thoughtful questions for the Q&A sessions. Approach the speakers at the event if there is something you found interesting.  And follow up with them after the event if you have an interest in their services or expertise.

Leveraging Networking Opportunities

Maximising business events for networking opportunities and connections is a must! The more people you meet, and go on to build a relationship with, the more business growth you will experience.

At the event, arrive early and interact with others before the session starts. Be proactive.  Don’t wait for others to approach you.  Take the initiative and introduce yourself to new people. Engage in group discussions at the event, be prepared to be interactive, asking questions and offering advice, and embrace learning opportunities, by taking notes for key takeaways and speaker insights.

Following up after the event is also essential if you want to maximise your outcomes. Send a follow-up message to new connections, mentioning something specific you discussed, express your interest in staying connect, and engage on social media platforms.

Some Post-Event Follow-Up Strategies

  • Send Thank You Notes: A personalised thank you email to speakers, organisers, and key contacts shows your appreciation and keeps you top of mind.
  • Connect on LinkedIn and other SM: Send connection requests to the people you met, and engage with them, if you find their posts interesting. Though, make sure you are authentic when responding to posts.
  • Review Your Goals: Reflect on the goals you set before the event. Assess what you achieved and what you can improve for future events.
  • Share Your Experience: Consider writing a blog post or social media update about your experience. This can reinforce your learnings and demonstrate your active participation within your industry or community.

It’s clear to see that it takes a little work and dedication to maximise business event outcomes. But by setting clear goals, preparing effectively and engaging with key individuals, you can increase results for maximum effect.

If you want to find out more about getting the best results from attending business events, chat to us at District32.  For 10 years we’ve been passionate about building better businesses through local community engagement and events. We’d be happy to discuss any queries you have about maximising your business event outcomes.

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