Conferences are back! There are thousands of conferences happening this year (Source). It’s an exciting time when you attend an event where knowledge and ideas flow. These high-value events can be wonderful drivers for the business. But, as a leader, being away from your team can add extra challenges to keep things running. But how exactly DO you get the most out of attending a conference, either virtual or in-person without sacrificing your team’s momentum?
Here are our favorite tips to “Be Pro” at any conference:
Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan – You and your team need to understand why you are attending in the first place. Are you looking for leads? Do you want to learn new strategies? Does the business need something and you want to find a vendor? These are only a few reasons why you might attend a conference. Make sure you plan ahead to get the most out of your attendance. For example, if you are collecting leads, how? Perhaps your team can make a form for you to bookmark on your phone to quickly get new leads into the pipeline. Or if you are getting a list of leads afterward, make sure your follow-up is in place BEFORE attending the event.
Be Proactive with Team Communication – You are probably used to being the main person your team looks to for solutions. As a result, your absence is going to be more transparent to them. You do not want to be the bottleneck in the business, so choose a team member who can stand in your place and be your point person of communication during the event. Their role will be to handle urgent issues and pass along relevant information. This person does not have to know everything about your role but they will need good judgment on when to involve you. This is another reason to plan your work. The person you choose needs to understand the goals and objectives of your attendance so they can support the efforts.
Schedule Accordingly – Conferences are not only about attending keynotes. There is also room for networking, brainstorming, and check-ins with your team (and perhaps even some work obligations). Most importantly, schedule your rest! Take breaks and give yourself enough time to unwind. Adequate rest helps you be both present at the conference and in the best space to support your team. Nothing is worse than being fatigued and trying to take meaningful notes.
Keep It To Yourself – You may want to share what you learn with your team but resist the urge. Be present at the event so you can absorb the full details of what you want to bring back. Give yourself a few days after the conference to decompress and get your thoughts organized. Use this time to align your ideas and notes with the team’s vision. The goal should be to keep your team focused on their immediate goals while giving them new information to be more efficient.
Conferences are a great place to gain new ideas and information for your business. Setting up your team for success in your absence is the key to aligning with your team goals and implementing everything seamlessly.
What do you think? Did we miss any pro tips to get the most out of a conference?