Earlier this week, I went to an event at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, a greenhouse located in Oakland, right outside of Pittsburgh. This was my second time at Phipps for a business event, so I haven’t been able to go through it thoroughly yet. The event I went to was, “Business Leadership in Managing Energy Usage” put on by Champions for Sustainability, the Business Climate Coalition, and the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative. A bunch of different companies talked about the sustainability efforts and after, we all discussed what our companies are doing to stay green and sustainable. It was really interesting and an important topic to me.
As a communications pro, I go to a lot of events. Here’s some tips I can share to maximize the event experience:
1. Make sure you arrive on time. You don’t want to be the douche that walks in during the presentations and everyone looks at
2. Eat breakfast. Events don’t typically have the best spreads when it comes to food
3. Bring paper and take notes. I have a leather professional notebook I bring with me to events and client meetings that looks more swift than a Five-Star notebook. I stole mine from my dad, but you can find them on Overstock.com
4. Bring business cards, you never know who you’ll meet
5. Look at the agenda the night before, so you can gauge how the sessions will go, if you need to be there right when it starts, if they’ll have breakfast or lunch, etc.
6. See who is going to the event. There might be a key contact you could make, so knowing who will be there ahead of time will ensure you’ll meet them
7. If you’re going alone, find someone who is also alone to sit next to. This makes it easier to strike up a conversation and feel more comfortable to go and meet more people
8. Know the hashtag to live-tweet. A lot of events don’t have a social component, but I typically live-tweet everything…except when I go to the bathroom and funerals. I know my followers (well, some of them), will appreciate interesting content, and you can see who else is in attendance and also live-tweeting. It also gives you something to tweet about and find new followers searching for those terms. If there’s no hashtag, start your own, or use another one in existence that is relevant to that topic
9. Make connections and get business cards, then follow up post-event. You never know if the people you met will be of value to you, so if you shoot them an e-mail or connect via LinkedIn, you will add to your network
10. Don’t fall asleep. That’s worse than the douche who walks in late.