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What Industry-Related Conferences Bring to Attendees

The value found at live events is greater than many expect

How do you react when your boss tells you to pack a bag and prepare for an industry-focused conference a plane flight away? Are you overcome with excitement, or do you secretly loathe the instances of travel and the conference atmosphere? Hopefully the first instance is the case, and you eagerly prepare for the journey.

Conferences are a part of many industries yet they all differ so much. I recall the first conference I attended as a member of Mequoda Group, which was the Mequoda Summit in Napa Valley this past spring. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but wanted to be prepared for anything.

Preparation, I believe, is the key to attending a conference and getting the most out of the experience. If your company is sending you on a six hour flight across the country, I’m sure they want to get their money’s worth by having you come back with new knowledge, an enlightened view point and some new industry contacts. But beyond that, you, the attendee, will hopefully have those same goals in mind.

How to get the most out of a conference

Before going to a conference, become familiar with the environment. For our quickly approaching Mequoda Summit Boston 2010, we created a digital brochure so attendees can get a very detailed glimpse into the content that’s going to be discussed. Many conferences do similar activities so attendees can plan accordingly.

After the itinerary is viewed, make notes as to which sessions can help you perform your job better. For instance, as an editor in the world of search engines, social media and Internet publicity, topics on audience development are important to the success behind my job. While reading through the brochure for the Mequoda Summit, I decided that the SEO Campaign Management session with Bob Kaslik and the 21 Digital Publishing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them session with Alan Bergstein, Jeff Lapin and Bob Brady are must-attend sessions for me.

You may find it a bit strange that I am planning so thoroughly for a conference hosted by the company I work for, but the key behind this conference is that it’s giving the floor to so many different speakers and panelists. The hosts of the sessions I mentioned above are knowledgeable professionals that I do not work with on a daily basis; therefore I’m sure I can learn something new from them.

In addition to the ‘must-attend’ sessions that align with your job duties, it’s worth attending some sessions that are purely on emerging topics. These sessions will often bring current data and reputable future hypotheses to the table. The information found here can lead to innovative strategies that may propel your publication into new, positive places.

Finally, take full advantage of the situations you end up in by meeting as many new people as you can. Conferences are typically filled with the most passionate, knowledgeable and successful people in an industry. These are the people to meet, create relationships with and network ideas to. The results may be priceless.

Three more tips for conference preparation

-Bring a notepad, laptop or tablet PC for taking notes. Conferences will often supply notepads, but it doesn’t hurt to have a back up just in case, or the medium you prefer to use.

-Come to the conference with questions you seek answers to. It’s much easier to bring questions than to think of them on the spot.

-Present yourself to the fullest in networking opportunities. Initiate conversations, bring business cards and don’t be afraid to share ideas.

Since it is conference time again, I feel it necessary to mention the Mequoda Summit Boston 2010, which is only a week away. If you want to learn and interact with dozens of successful and knowledgeable publishers, sign up today.

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