Updated: Jul 20, 2022
Over the last few years, I’ve been to my fair share of live events so I know that is can be a big investment in terms of time and money and because of this I wanted to make sure that each event was right for me (what would I get out of it?) and plan how I would make the most of the event itself.
In terms of the events themselves, the people who organise the best events spend time making sure the right people attend their events, rather than trying to fill a room, it makes sense, as it would impact negatively on your brand if the people attending are thinking it was about something it wasn’t, by being clear and explicit about the content this is avoided. By creating content about the event, speakers, venue, session times, even the drinks break you can create a buzz around your event but also answer some of the key questions attendees might have.
So, once you’ve signed up and paid for your ticket you can sit back and relax, right?
Wrong! The key is the prior preparation and planning, including some things that may seem obvious, to optimise your investment. Here are some of the things you might want to consider when attending a live event;
Get your travel booked in advance, I needed to travel into London for this event and saved a fortune by setting up the alert for advance train tickets. I also booked a train that allows me to arrive in plenty of time to get to the venue on the Tube and even leaves a bit of time for a short delay to my train. Likewise, if you are driving make sure you leave lots of time and have planned your route, and investigated parking at the venue or nearby. Have lots of change in case you can't pay by card. There is nothing worse than rushing or arriving late all flustered.
Make sure you know where you are going, I made this mistake early in my career when I was going to the Chartered Insurance Institute in London and I thought I knew where I was going and got lost, went the wrong way, and arrived late and all of a fluster! Not the impression you want to create.
Research the directions, parking, tube station, and nearby points of interest you can look out for or use Google street view to familiarise yourself with the location before you set off.
3. Background Reading
Have any of the speakers written articles, books, or blog posts you should read in advance? Is there any material that you have sent in advance to read before the event? Schedule in time to read this rather than doing it on the bus on the way to the event.
Is there a social media feed for the event, a hashtag or a Facebook Group/Page you can follow? Has someone who has attended the same event written about it online?
4. Marketing Material
Make sure you take plenty of up-to-date business cards as well as any relevant brochures or sales materials that may be useful if you end up talking to a potential connection or client. It is always wise to check in advance if it is ok to hand them out as some industry events have different tickets for people wanting to promote services who are not exhibiting.
Sounds odd but do take time to consider what is both appropriate for the event and also be comfortable. If you have to walk a fair distance then consider taking a change of shoes. Also wear layers, I always recommend this as room temperature can vary throughout the day.
6. Food & Drink
I am naughty and often skip breakfast, but if you know you are going to be on the go all day make sure you have a good breakfast and I would always advise taking a bottle of water and a cereal bar or flapjack for a quick energy boost. Most events are well catered and drinks are provided but I would always prefer not to be remembered for the noise from my empty tummy.
Why are you attending the event? What do you hope to achieve from it? Is there someone there you want to meet? People, do you know who you want to catch up with? Depending on the size of the event you might want to contact people in advance to arrange a meeting or let them know you are attending and are looking forward to seeing them.
8. Follow up strategy
So, having attended and achieved my objectives what do I do next? I usually write a follow-up blog post on the train home, something engaging and entertaining – what else! Sharing this across your social media platforms can increase engagement and offer useful help and advice to other people looking to optimise the live events they attend.
My follow-up strategy will include.
· Connecting with anyone I met on other social media platforms
· Arranging any follow-up meetings or activities
· Writing up my blog post following the event
· Creating any material to support the blog post and sharing this across my social media
· Provide any feedback to the organiser or speakers, only if they ask for it.
· Putting everything I have learned to good use, ensuring the return on the investment pays dividends now and long into the future.
This sounds obvious, but you can create several different blog posts for the live event, your are reading one here! And here are some other blog titles or ideas that might help you:
Why you should attend live events
How to prepare for a live event
5 takeaways from EVENT NAME
7 reasons to attend EVENT NAME
10 ways you should be preparing for live events/ conferences/ workshops
10. Useful Links
You might find these blog posts useful.
- 5 Ways Attending Live Events Can Benefit Your Business
- 5 Reasons to Blog After a Live Event
- 5 Networking Tips for Introverts
- 10 Tips to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile