Monday, September 8, 2014

Maximizing Conferences and Seminars, Part 1

Conferences are a great way to expand your network of connections, learn best practices and gain valuable insights into emerging issues affecting your industry. The energy created by hundreds of industry insiders meeting to delve into the challenges of the day can re-charge your batteries in ways few other marketing activities can. But, they can also be expensive endeavors that need to be carefully managed and executed  well in order to reap the greatest rewards from the investment.

The following is a list of tips and techniques which can help you get the most out of your next conference or seminar. It is a series which spans four weeks so please check back regularly.

Determine what you need to accomplish by attending a conference.

Any marketing initiative should begin with clarifying your objectives. Business development funds are limited. It’s important to contribute to the firm’s growth by ensuring your use of funds is directed at the highest and best use of the firm’s resources. Conferences can be expensive when you add together the cost of travel, accommodations, conference fees, meals, client entertainment and lost billable time. What are the alternate uses of those funds and would that be a better use of your time and investment of hours?

Knowing what you need to accomplish will help determine the type of conference that you need to attend. You may need to learn more about an industry. It may be that you are looking for better connections to prospective clients. You are attending the conference with a client in order to deepen the relationship. Or, you are going to increase your knowledge about a subject area or industry. Be clear about what you need to accomplish so that you can be sure to attend the right kind of conference and plan your time accordingly. There may be several reasons to select a conference. If so, prioritize the reasons to clarify which are the most important. These top reasons should be your vetting process for selecting the most appropriate conference and topics.

Choose the right conference.

Depending upon what you are trying to accomplish, the selection of where you go can make a big difference in the results you get from the conference. Consider the subject matter and the level of expertise the conference offers. Consider who the people are that are speaking at the conference and attending the conference. Are these direct buyers of your services or referral sources? Or are they mostly in the same boat as you? Some attorneys spend a lot of time at Bar Association conferences when in fact they don’t need referral sources as much as they need to better learn about the dynamics of their clients’ industries. 

If I can help you get the most out of your event attendance, give Eric Dewey a call at 502.693.4731. You'll find that I am an eager resource and that it costs nothing to talk.

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