If you’re looking for a job in tech, going to tech conferences and other industry events can be great ways to advance your professional development and connect with the right people. As we enter into a new season of learning and networking, let’s make sure we’re prepared to make the most of it.
Here’s how to maximize your time before, during, and after a tech conference.
Prior to the Event
Review the event agenda and determine which optional sessions would be most beneficial for you and your team. What topics are of most relevant for your team and your company? Sometimes there is limited availability, so also make sure you sign-up as early as possible.
Download the event app if it’s available. Not only will this help you review the agenda, but many times event Apps provide push reminders, event maps, and networking options. You can easily delete it once the event is complete, and event Apps are a huge help while you’re there.
Prepare ahead by establishing the goals you want to achieve. It’s helpful to write down your main purpose for attending the event. That will help you create a strategy around the goal, which in turn will help you to get the most out of that experience.
At the Event
Keep it comfortable. On a practical level, be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Many conferences span a large area, so you have to be able to move quickly across the event to attend the different sessions. It’s okay to sacrifice fashion for comfort. Running in 3-inch heels isn’t much fun!
Take notes. Whether you prefer to capture notes digitally or keep things old school with a pen and paper, be sure to take notes. When it comes to retaining information, Harvard research actually shows that low-tech note taking is your best bet. We recommend somewhat of a hybrid: taking some by hand, downloading presentations and using your phone to take photos of slides, too.
Keep an open mind for all sessions. Although you may not initially think the topic is completely useful, you may learn something new. It’s almost always possible to key theme or takeaway. You may just need to think a little bit outside the box.
Network, network, network. Events are an awesome opportunity for networking. Bring plenty of business cards to share, and use the Linkedin App to add people you meet to your connections. Come prepared with an ‘elevator speech’ about yourself. Be able to quickly and succinctly describe your skills and your professional goals.
After the Event
Compile your notes and keep them somewhere you can refer back to often. If you’re currently working somewhere, expand the value of the conference by distributing notes to your team. You can also write up your key takeaways and share it through your personal blog or social media.
Take action. When you’re back to the daily grind, it can be easy to lose sight of all of the new insight you’ve just obtained. I recommend setting specific follow-up actions for yourself or your team based on the conference notes. If there is a topic or product that piqued your interest at the conference, assign a team member to research it further and present their findings.
Follow-up with all of your new connections. This will help expand your professional network and can lead to additional contacts through those new connections.
We hope you find these tips useful. If you’re looking to make new tech connections in the Atlanta area, be sure to check out these must-attend networking events in Atlanta.
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This post was adapted from a blog post originally published by our friends at MAU.