There are only a few weeks left in the year, and although conferences are winding down, you may be planning your 2020 calendar already (or getting in a few last networking opportunities!). Even when you’re an old hand at attending events, we can always use a refresher on tips for attending events and how to make the most of the networking opportunities they present. Here are some quick tips for making the most out of your attendance! 
Continue Reading 13 Best Practices for Attending Conferences

It’s no secret that attending an industry event can lead to business opportunities. When you choose the right one, the networking alone provides the return on your investment.

But we’re often so eager for the actual attendance to equal business that we forget that as with any business development opportunity, it’s not one-and-done. In the dating game, while it might be possible for you to meet someone and marry them the same night, and find lasting happiness, it’s much more likely that you spend time getting to know each other before making a commitment. Your business relationships are much the same.

How can you translate those conference attendances into business opportunities? There are as many articles and blog posts on this as there are ways to do it, but today, I’m offering up three tips to use after your next event to move the needle. 
Continue Reading 3 Tips to Translate a Conference Attendance into Business Opportunities

The final key in getting and communicating the value of any conference or event you attend is, of course, in the follow up. Follow up seems like an obvious piece of the puzzle, but because you’ve been out of the office for a couple of days, and there are demands on your time from the moment you land, it’s actually fairly easy for it to slip from the front of your mind to the back burner. 

It’s essential not to let that happen, so that you don’t lose all of the value that you’ve gained from preparation and engaging in the conference. 

As with preparation and engagement, there are a number of different ways to follow up after (and even while you’re still at) an event, culminating with a review for your colleagues and firm decision makers. The reason I suggest that the follow up end with the review is two-fold – one, when you do all of the other follow-up first, all of the conference value will be very fresh in your mind, and you’ll have your key points handy to share with them right away.

And two, implementing this follow up will hopefully have them following along and result in some further engagement, which will help you to demonstrate additional value even more easily during the review meeting. 


Continue Reading Communicating Conference Attendance Value: Follow Up

Last week, we started talking about how to get the most value out of a conference or event that you’re attending, and then communicate that value back to those at your office. Preparation before the event is key, but the next piece of the puzzle if about engaging at the conference itself. 

This is something that we’ve talked about here at Zen before. in part, it’s about putting into place the preparation that you started before you left for the conference. 

Attend all of the Sessions You’ve Identified in Your Review

Prior to the event, you’ve reviewed the agenda and identified the sessions that will have value for you, your firm and your colleagues. Now is the time to not only get to those sessions, but also to stay engaged in them – take notes, live tweet, write blog recaps, ask questions – whatever will keep you most invested in each individual session so that you stay focused on the takeaways is the key here.

Don’t assume that you’ll just remember the highlights either – use whatever notes system works best for you to get your impressions of the presentation or discussion down as it’s happening. 


Continue Reading Communicating Conference Attendance Value: Engage

As we lead up to the Legal Marketing Association‘s Annual Conference, the importance of communicating the value of attending any conference to those back in the office has been in the forefront of my mind. The LMA conference is always packed to the gills with scheduled events, because marketers have to be able to prove to the decision makers that there is value to be gotten from attending. 

Even though the ILN has more opportunities for organic networking at our conferences, there is still a burden on our attendees to show their partners that this is not a boondoggle. 

No matter which conferences or events we’re attending this year, there are some ways that we can get out ahead of the inevitable question "Is your attendance at that event really worth it?"

I’m going to break this up into three posts, looking at different ways to address this question. The keys are to Prepare, Engage and Follow Up, and today, we’ll focus on preparation. 

We all love the idea that we can just show up somewhere without preparation, and it will be successful – we’ll meet all the right people, new business will flow our way, and we’ll run out of business cards on the first day because people are lining up to meet us.


Continue Reading Communicating Conference Attendance Value: Preparation

Next week, I have the pleasure of joining my fellow co-leaders for the Social Media Special Interest Group for the Legal Marketing Association in presenting a webinar on using social media to ramp up conferences and events. My part of the session will focus on blogging, so I thought I’d offer you a preview of my remarks here! LMA members can attend the webinar by registering here

You may be surprised to hear that blogging can be a valuable tool for ramping up your conferences and events, but it’s actually quite a valuable one, and one I use often (if you are a regular Zen reader, you’ll be familiar with my recaps).  There are two sides to this, the attendee side, and the organizer side, and I’ll cover both. 

Why Blogging?

Why use blogging? For attendees, it’s quite simple. Blogging before and after events helps to position you as a thought leader and can help to engage you with conference speakers as well as other attendees. 

For organizers, blogging either by someone in your organization, or an outside blogger writing about your event, can help you to grow your audience, expand the reach of your event, help you connect with those who can’t be there in person, and also leverage any high profile speakers that you have. 


Continue Reading Blogging for Enhancing Conferences & Events

With our Annual Meeting coming up in just a few short weeks, I wanted to dedicate this week’s "Ask Friday" to the question of "how can I make the most out of attending a conference?"  You might think that just showing up and attending the events is enough, but with a little bit of strategy, your pre, during and post conference activities can really make a difference in your experience.

Pre-Conference

Before heading to the conference, take a few minutes to look over the agenda and the attendee list (if it’s available).  The agenda can give you an idea of what topics will be discussed and where you can contribute – when you contribute to a discussion (especially in a conference like ours where the main purpose is to develop relationships), it can help people to identify you with a certain area of expertise, and make you a thought leader who is sought out for later conversations.  It also makes you easier to remember.

Review the attendee list and identify who you’d like to build relationships with.  This can seem a bit "icky," but you know where your clients are doing business, so it’s a good idea to connect with possible referral partners so that you start to build that level of trust necessary for referring work.  You may even see someone on the list that seems to have a cool job, or a unique value proposition – meet these people just to expand your horizons if nothing else.  When we stretch our comfort zones, that’s when we really learn and grow.


Continue Reading Ask Friday! Conference Attendance Edition