Last week I posted Part 1 here. It focused on the planning and arrangements you could make before the conference begins. Today we will focus on what you do while attending the conference. There are many benefits to attending a professional conference. Most CPA's, Enrolled Agents, and Financial Advisors I know attend so they can satisfy their Continuing Education Requirements and learn from the presenters so they can improve the quality of the services they provide to their clients.
However, taking advantage of these suggestions will help. Here are some suggestions to implement while attending the conference.
1. Make a Point of Meeting Everyone You Called Face to Face
Meet everyone! Over breakfast, lunch or dinner. For a quick coffee or tea. Talk about the things that made you put them on your list. But don't forget to ask about them. Why are they at the conference? What sessions are they attending and why? The point is NEVER eat alone. There is always someone to meet and someone to talk to.
If you will be attending the same session at some point, make arrangements to sit together. This gives you a chance to connect again. It also gives you a chance to talk about what you a learning at that session and how the two of you will implement those concepts in your various practices.
2. Meet the Leader of the Next Conference
If you want to be a speaker at the next conference, make sure you meet the person responsible for running the conference next year. Let them know of your interest and find out their process for selecting speakers. When you follow up later, they will be able to put a face to the name.
3. Host a Dinner
Every year in January I attend the premier estate planning conference, the Heckerling Institute, in Orlando, Florida. Often I will arrange a dinner for a number of people that I am trying to build relationships with. I don't usually pay; we go Dutch Treat. However, I make the reservations and invite the people I want to know.
You can also look for people that seem to be all alone (the orphans). They will be grateful for the new friend and someone to talk to. You never know how that will turn out.
4. Use Free Information as an Incentive to Collect Names & Addresses
I have never done this, but it will work depending on your goals for the conference and whom the attendees are. If your firm has a company newsletter, email subscription list, etc., you can offer to send someone a copy if they give you their business card. It is a lot less threatening for someone to hand you their contact information face to face then fill out a form online to receive it.
5. Ask People You Meet to Help With Your Article Research
If you are writing an article for publication, as attendees you meet to help. What thoughts do they have on your topic? Do they find it interesting? Any comments or suggestions they might make?
We do not have a Comments section on this blog. Your feedback is appreciated, however. Please call the Sheffield Law Office and talk to Amy or myself to let me know your comments, or if you have any questions on how better to implement the above suggestions.