How to Navigate Your Conference Agenda for a High Event ROI - Amber Hurdle | Globally Recognized Branding Expert

How to Navigate Your Conference Agenda for a High Event ROI

September 06, 2018

Once you’ve made the decision to attend a conference, it is important to make the most of your money and time investment. One of the biggest mistakes that conference attendees make is they do not prepare properly for the event!

Here are my tips to help you navigate a conference agenda with ease.

Decide what you want to get out of the event. It is important to define your goal for the event. Is it to connect with industry influencers or learn the latest trends in your industry? There can be several goals, but make sure you highlight your number one goal. It’s good to also have a content goal, so you know what type of content you should focus on. What do you most want to learn?

List who you want to meet during the event. One of the best ways to prepare for an event is to write a list of everyone you would like to connect with at the event including keynote speakers, panelists, attendees, and event staff. Highlight the top 6-8 people. If there are speakers on your top list then focus on their sessions. Or if there are attendees you want to connect with, you can plan to meet them during downtime or intentionally attend the same sessions as them.

Research speakers beforehand. One way to know which speakers you want to learn from or connect with is to watch their videos beforehand. This can help you determine if you like their speaking style and the way they deliver information. It can also give you context and the opportunity to come up with good questions to ask them. If you do want to connect with a speaker, you should sit towards the front and be engaged during their presentation. Ask the first question and make sure it is interesting. This will make you more memorable when you connect with the speaker later.

Check out a map of the conference space. At larger conferences, it is important to consider the layout of the venue when selecting sessions. Make a list of the sessions you would like to attend then look at the map and see where they are in relation to each other. Do you have time to go between the sessions? Does it make sense to go from building A to building B then back to building A again?

Schedule downtime. It’s easy to over-schedule ourselves during a conference. However, if you are like me, you will be more attentive and your conference experience will be more enjoyable if you take periodic breaks between sessions. If there is no session you feel passionate about attending, then schedule downtime for that session instead. Use these breaks to connect with other attendees, go back to your room to recharge, or walk around the city to give your mind a break.

When you’ve defined the factors that will influence your decision, you can make a more informed decision about the best sessions to attend. A session should either fulfill your content goal or your relationship goal. By being intentional about your session choices, you can make the most of your money and time investment.


About the Author

Emily Murnen

Wild Elm Events

Small Business Events

Emily Murnen is the founder of Branch Out Experiences – curated events that bring together established women entrepreneurs for community, growth, and adventure. She is also the founder of Wild Elm Events, an event planning company helping entrepreneurs create high-quality events. She has over 12 years experience in planning events from 10-1,000 people, and her passion is to help foster deeper connections and community through live events.

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