Planning for our annual user conference begins almost as soon as the previous year’s event concludes. At Prophix, we start this process by reviewing our experience as hosts and measuring our perceptions against the feedback provided by attendees.
I also network with other event planners and review online commentary from industry experts. This helps me to develop a conference that delivers a valuable return for your investments. Just as I try to make guests feel welcome in my home, I want to make sure that your experience at the conference is a pleasant one.
In my experience, an attendee’s approach to a conference can significantly impact his or her experience. Here are some tactics that help attendees to yield maximum value:
- Read the agenda in advance
Many of you reviewed the agenda when you originally registered. You prioritized the sessions you wanted to attend and RSVP’d to the evening activities (hopefully!). But that may have been some time ago. With a second look at the agenda, you may notice a topic that does not directly impact your role, but which you’re curious to learn about. Making mental notes about the agenda will prepare you for informal conversations when meeting fellow attendees or members of the Prophix team.
- Try to schedule1/1 meetings beforehand
The user conference is one of those rare instances where customers have access to the entire Prophix team. If you know now that you need their ear, reach out to schedule a meeting with them. They want your feedback. They want to hear about your challenges, your innovations and successes. Although they will always make themselves available to you during the conference, scheduling time with them in advance will ensure that they come prepared to answer your questions onsite without having to follow-up after the conference.
- Ask questions in the sessions you attend
Don’t be shy about asking questions. In fact, I know that nearly every speaker would like to know that their content is relevant and valuable. Sometimes further clarification is required.
- Bring business cards
This one is kind of a no-brainer. Comfortable shoes are always a good idea, too.
- Join us for the evening activities
On some occasions, attendees have told me that they are making other plans for the conference off-hours. Sometimes they are visiting a friend or family member who lives near the conference venue. But lots of networking will happen in the evening, often spontaneously. When planning these evening events my goal is to provide attendees with an experience that is unique to you, built with the city’s unique history and culture in mind. Don’t miss out!
I’m sure there are a number of other tips we can add to this list. In fact, if you have other ideas or experiences, I’d love to hear from you. As I mentioned above, I take great pride in planning this conference and my goal is always to create an event that you value and enjoy so much that you return year after year. Washington, D.C. is one of the world’s most storied and fascinating cities. With your support, we can make this year’s conference an historic one.
By Katarina Radivojcevic
Marketing Events Planner, Prophix