Weber Shandwick is a proud sponsor of the 2013 BSR Conference: The Power of Networks. This conference focuses on harnessing the power of networks to solve the world’s biggest sustainability challenges and, as far as programs and speakers, networking, quality of sessions and reach, BSR Conferences are hard to top. Case in point: #BSR13 utilized a mobile app over print for its conference program, saving 46,800 gallons of water.
That said, to make sure you get the most out of even a stellar conference you have to have a plan for success that includes pre-conference preparation, maximizing your time and smart follow up.
Be clear on your goals: Do you want to build relationships? Acquire “how to” industry intelligence? Learn what others in your space are succeeding with? Be clear about what you want to get out of the experience before you register and make sure to pack your business cards.
Stretch yourself: Be intentional about selecting which breakout sessions to attend and research the speakers beforehand. We tend to gravitate to what we know, especially when we’re breathing in recycled air surrounded by strangers in a hotel ballroom. Resist. Stretch yourself and attend subjects you aren’t familiar with.
Maximize your time
Network effectively: Research who you want to meet in advance of the event and be intentional about making quality connections. If you want to meet certain speakers, set up a time to connect rather than storming the podium after they take their last question.
Focus your take-aways: Aim to collect three good points from each break-out session or presentation that you believe will have direct impact on your work once you’re back. Frequently, presentation decks and additional materials will be sent to participants, so don’t worry about scribbling down every last comment or data point on a slide. Be selective about the notes you take in order to free your time to really listen.
Smart follow up
Follow up with the quality connections you make as soon as possible while conversations are fresh in your mind. Take notes on the back of business cards in order to remember the nuances of the conversations you had. In truth, the connections you make and the relationships you build are frequently the most valuable conference take-aways
Title photo courtesy of Bruno Girin.