Attending conferences is a part of the job description for many converters, engineers and purchasing managers. Conferences provide a great opportunity to stay abreast of current industry trends, participate in networking events and connect with suppliers. Some enjoy the opportunity to get away from their desks and others would prefer to leave the headaches of travel and logistics coordination to anyone else. However you look at it, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you get the maximum bang-for-your-buck when you attend industry conferences.
- Familiarize yourself with the program before you go. Review the conference sessions and speakers and create a prioritized list for yourself. Challenge yourself by attending sessions that may include topics you aren’t as familiar with. Stay away from sessions that address the basics if you’re a seasoned professional. If your conference requires you to register for sessions, be sure to register early to get the sessions you need to enhance your knowledge base.
- Set aside some time to network. One of the most valuable takeaways from conferences is connecting with other professionals in your industry. Don’t undervalue the relationships you can establish during conferences. Use the time to strengthen existing supplier relationships and establish new relationships with colleagues who might be able to work with your business in the future.
- After every session, make a note of at least one key takeway. Many conferences are hectic and jam-packed with activities from morning until night. It can be easy to get overwhelmed. But, if you’ll take the opportunity to jot down at one to three items from every session, you’ll leave the conference with some core pieces of knowledge.
- Write a brief conference summary on the plane ride home. While the experience is still fresh, write a brief summary of what you learned at the conference. Use your key takeway notes and any handouts received to provide any details. You may include notes about who you met and what you discussed. Writing it all down will help solidify what you’ve learned and, as an added bonus, you can send your summary to other colleagues who didn’t get to attend.
- Follow up within a few days after the conference. Send a note to new contacts to follow up on your discussion and to more firmly establish the relationship. If you promised to send any information about your business or your products, do so within three days after the conference. Timeliness is important!
Attending nonwoven industry conferences doesn’t have to be a burden. Use conferences as an opportunity to increase your company’s exposure in the industry, to enhance your knowledge base and to connect with others who may be a valuable resource to you now and in the future.
Blog image courtesy of Stuart Milles/freedigitalphotos.net