1. Pre-conference prep
Before the conference gets underway make sure you study the conference handbook so that you can identify which presentations are your personal ‘must-sees’ and when you will have time to speak with exhibitors in the Exhibition Hall.
For those who are interested in both the commercial and technical streams, it’s a good idea to see if there are any overlapping presentations that you and your colleagues can split between you to ensure all bases are covered.
Identify speakers that you wish to speak with at the event, and the best time for you to try and meet with them (following their presentation, at the dinner etc).Article continues below…
Try to learn a little about speakers and read their bios so that you know the best way to approach them.
Make sure you get to know the Exhibition Hall layout also so that you know where the lounges and meeting areas are located for any planned meetings with clients.
Get together with your colleagues and identify a number of outcomes and goals that you hope to achieve by the end of the conference, whether this means establishing new contacts, pursuing an exhibitor and finalising a business deal, recruiting potential new employees or promoting your business’s capabilities and expertise.
If you are travelling from inter-state or overseas make sure you think about how you can maximise your time in Brisbane around the event. Many delegates like to take the time to arrange meetings on the day before or after the event, or invite and pay for clients in Brisbane to attend FutureGAS with them, where you can demonstrate first-hand your grasp on industry issues, your firm contact base and arrange meetings during break times in the Exhibition Hall lounge area.
2. Connect and make yourself known
Networking both online and in person is one of the most valuable aspects of stepping out of the office and attending a large event such as FutureGAS.
Connect with event organisers, speakers, presenters and delegates prior to an event via online platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
Increase your online profile by promoting your attendance at the event through these channels or use the FutureGAS signature banner in your email to promote your participation as a speaker or exhibitor. Online participation works best when there is a constant stream of information, so keep tweeting and your like minded colleagues will be drawn to your discussions.
At the event, establish an online connection with new contacts as soon as possible through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other relevant platforms to maximise your personal involvement with their business needs.
Attendees at the FutureGAS 2012 Conference and Exhibition have dedicated networking tools to assist them in making and maintaining lasting professional connections, and facilitating a conversation during conference presentations.
3. Raise your glass
The best way to make sure that you follow up on your pre-event introductions is to track people down at one of the six dedicated networking functions.
These relaxed and entertaining events are a great way to get to know someone face-to-face and to exchange your business card. A personal meeting is the best way to leave a lasting memory. Make sure you keep your business cards in a pocket or folder that is easily accessible and keep a pen handy to write down any follow up that needs to be actioned post-event.
It is a good idea to also keep business cards you have collected for the day in a separate folder and to bundle them into ‘Day 1’ and ‘Day 2’ contacts to help your recollection back at the office.
4. Be confident and enjoy yourself
Delegates who attend on their own are soon welcomed and befriended by their industry colleagues at the FutureGAS opening cocktails event. Everyone who is attending the event has a similar interest and passion for the gas industry and they are keen to hear new ideas.
Be involved as much as you can in discussion, ask questions at the end of presentations that you can later follow up on with speakers or those sitting around you and spark a conversation.
5. Walk the walk
Make sure to follow up on any arrangements you have made during the conference, send through any materials or further contacts requested, or pass on any information to your colleagues that has been handed to you so that the relationships you have fostered can continue to grow and turn into action.
Delegates can also use social media post-event to point associates’ attention to internet-based material that promotes an organisation, project or technology that was discussed during the event in order to support the efforts made in a face-to-face meeting. Social media also helps you re-connect with those that you wished to talk further with, or track down the elusive faces that you were unable to speak with at the time.
We look forward to welcoming you at FutureGAS 2012 on 27 March 2012.