It’s that time of year again when companies are preparing to attend all of the major fall staffing conferences! With conferences taking place in a virtual environment last year, there is even more anticipation to finally be back to in-person events this year. Whether you are attending one of the national conferences or a local one, making the most out of the conference is important. You don’t want to spend the time and money to attend a conference if you aren’t receiving a lot back in return. So, how do you make the most out of your fall conferences? Below is a checklist of ways you can prepare, things to do during it, and follow-up items after the show, to help you get the greatest return on your investment!
Research Presenters and Sessions
Before you arrive at the conference, check out the sessions ahead of time and select which ones you want to attend if multiple are taking place at the same time. You don’t want to land up in a session that is irrelevant or not valuable to you after spending money to attend. Attend the sessions that you will get the most out of. Check to see if there is a conference app to download as well. Conference apps will usually show the schedule, exhibitors, a map, etc. Sometimes there is even an option to network and connect with other attendees in the app itself!
Divide and Conquer
If you plan to attend the conference with other co-worker’s, plan to divide and conquer the schedule. You will get the most of out of the conference if you split up and attend different sessions. You can then regroup after the session and once you arrive back at the office to educate one another on what was discussed.
Make Appointments Ahead of Time
Conferences are a good time to connect with other staffing professionals you know in the industry. If there are a few contacts you want to connect with, reach out to them ahead of time and see if you can schedule time during a break or after the day’s agenda to grab a drink or dinner. This will help you manage your schedule so you are making the most out of your time.
Additionally, if there are any exhibitors you wish to visit, try scheduling an appointment with them ahead of time as well. Conferences are a great time to talk to vendors in the industry. If you have an appointment ahead of time, they will be able to tailor your meeting to your company and better prepare to meet with you, then if you were to just stop by. Some vendors will even show you a demonstration at the conference if you wish to see a demo of their product. By the end of your meeting, you will hopefully have a good understanding if they are a company you want to look further into partnering with!
Disconnect from the Office
As hard as it might be, try to disconnect from your email and phone during the sessions. You can take any needed time to respond back to emails and make calls during your breaks. If you are multitasking throughout the session, it will be hard to pay attention and retain the information being discussed. There is almost no point of even attending if the time isn’t spent focused on the presentations.
To avoid distractions, simply turn your phone off or put it on silent. Also, remember to put your out of office on stating you will be unavailable. That way anyone trying to get in touch with you, will know you won’t be able to respond immediately.
It’s easy to sit and listen in each session, but remember to also take notes. By the end of the next session, you won’t remember what you learned in the last one. Take notes throughout so you remember key points that were made. If it helps, at the end of each session you can even jot down your top three takeaways.
As a food for thought, statistics show that taking notes by hand is more effective than taking notes through a computer or tablet. You are able to retain the information better and remember it. This might be something worth considering! It will also help you avoid being distracted from emails and messages coming in.
Connect with Speakers
If there is a speaker that stands out or perhaps is someone that would be worth connecting with, introduce yourself after the session and get their business card. After the conference, you can then connect with them on LinkedIn and stay in communication. You may even consider sending a thank you email or note to them after the conference as an additional gesture. The speakers presenting are industry experts and are good connections to stay in touch with. Down the line, you never know if you will need their advice or perhaps even have an occasion to partner together!
During the conference, attend networking sessions and parties. These are great opportunities for you to connect with other staffing companies similar to yours and see what they are doing. It’s also a chance for you to gain new ideas and see a fresh perspective on your business.
Be sure to pack those business cards too! As you are connecting with speakers and other attendees, the best way to stay in contact is by passing out your card.
We discussed making appointments with exhibitors a little bit earlier. Of course, an appointment isn’t necessary to visit an exhibitor, unless there is one you know you want to see then it might be beneficial to contact them ahead of time. Regardless if there is a specific exhibitor you want to see, take some time to visit the exhibit hall. Exhibitors take the time to be at the conference as a resource to you. You may find some vendors you didn’t know existed or come across a product or service that will be beneficial for your company. Exhibitors help you learn about the resources and technology available to you to help your business grow. If anything, you can take home some cool swag!
Make a Trip of It
For the past year and a half, we have been stuck in the life of COVID. You may not have been able to take a lot of trips or have a getaway. A conference is the perfect opportunity to turn it into a longer trip! Either before or after the conference, stay a few extra days in the area. You can even invite the whole family to come out and join you for a mini family vacation!
Hold a Lunch and Learn When You are Back
Once you return to the office hold a lunch and learn session with your team. This is a chance for the whole team to also learn from the tips and ideas you brought home from the conference. You and other attendees can put together your notes and present key takeaways. Bringing back all of the knowledge with you and sharing it with your team, is one of the best ways to get the most bang for your buck!
Set Action Plan and Next Steps
After your lunch and learn session, hold a follow-up meeting to discuss any ideas that stood out to you that you would want to try implementing at your staffing company. This meeting can be used for discussion and even as a brainstorming session to see how you can put these ideas into action, specifically at your company. At the end of the meeting, be sure to have an action plan and delegate tasks so the ideas, don’t just remain ideas. This last step can be one of the most important steps, where your learnings become part of your company strategy. Soon after you may even begin to see a tangible return on your investment!
See you there!
I hope you found this check list helpful as you prepare to attend staffing conferences this fall! Conferences present a rare opportunity for staffing companies to take a step back and really dive into the state of the industry to learn about where the industry is heading and current trends. Sometimes it’s hard to step back and see your business from a fresh pair of eyes, as you are busy going about day-to-day activities. Conferences though help you begin to think outside of the box and help you come up with new initiatives to take back with you. And let’s not forget about the exhibitors available to you to show you technology and services available to help your business thrive!
Stop by the Automated Business Designs Booth
Automated Business Designs will be at several upcoming conferences to share with you our all-in-one staffing software solution, Ultra-Staff EDGE. We will even be available for a live demo so you can see it in action! Come stop by our booth at the following conferences and pick-up a ring-light for your computer so you can always have the perfect light on your Zoom® calls!
Staffing World 2021 (Visit Booth 508)
September 28th-30th | Register Here
NAPS 2021 Annual Conference (Visit Booth 13)
September 26th– 28th | Register Here
2021 SIA Healthcare Staffing Summit
November 3rd-5th | Register Here
2021 Midwest Owners and Executives Retreat
October 14th and 15th | Register Here
2021 WASS Legislative Conference
November 11th | Register Here