If you feel that you need to devote more time to professional networking, but you do not have the time to go to every business convention, you will need to separate the wheat from the chaff. Certain factors influence how worthwhile a convention will be.
Find Out Who the Speakers Are
Learn about the speaker and decide whether you are interested in the speaker. Try to find an online video of the speaker and evaluate his or her performance. Also, find out if a formal rehearsal was held before the convention.
Great public speakers are not necessarily experienced, though. Having a unique background or having an expertise in an obscure topic can be even more valuable.
While speakers are entertaining, make sure you can network and contribute too. According to leadership and public speaking expert Scott Berkun, "there is no better way to meet others and and access the most interesting and friendly people than participating."
Consider the Location of the Convention
Will the convention be held at an unusual location? This can indicate that the convention will be very different from what you're used to.
For example, if the business convention will held at a lounge, it'll be easier to mingle with other attendees. A convention held at an old historical building would have the added bonus of simply giving yourself something additional to talk about. But if you don't like the venue, skip the convention.
Choose Conventions with a Narrow Focus
The more narrow the focus of the convention, the more you will find yourself surrounded by those passionate about the same topic as you. The broader the topic, the more business cards you'll be exchanging with those you will likely not contact again.
Decide on whether the business convention will help you meet the right people. Also, will the convention provide you with skills and knowledge that can help you grow your business?
Are the Food Options a Selling Point, or an After-Thought?
Whether the convention serves food, the type of food served and the quality of the caterers is often underrated. A convention can provide an opportunity to eat something new and you won't have to go hunting for a restaurant afterward. For example, HubSpot's Inbound attendees recieve a lunch voucher to be used at any one of the 20 amazing food trucks that will be parked outside the Boston Convention Center!
Great speakers, great food, a great venue and a narrow focus will maximize the chances that the convention will be one that you won't forget.