By: Alex   -  In: Blog   -  37   Comments

Currently, I attend about 15+ conferences per year (mostly in the Digital Marketing & Technology space), although I just attended the IBS- Builders Show in Las Vegas earlier this year. In the past 18 years I’ve attended over 200 conferences across dozens of cities in the US and abroad. I’ve mainly worked in 4 industries (Textile, Finance, Construction & Marketing/Technology). Having been involved in the Digital Marketing space for the past 10 years meant I had to attend conferences in industries ranging from Insurance to Automotive to Real Estate. The truth is most of the conferences fall short of delivering value to its’ exhibitors, sponsors & attendees. Nevertheless they’re still a vital tool for any business or industry. I’ve put together a list of Q&A’s for those of you attending conferences.

  • What’s a good strategy for managing time at a conference?  You should divide your time 3 ways. 1/3 in sessions, 1/3 in networking and meetings and the other 1/3 visiting exhibitors.

#1 Sessions– I make a point in attending sessions that cover subjects in areas me and my business need improvement in.

#2 Networking and Meetings – I like to take home 4-5 great business opportunities and connections. Depending on the type of conference I may have my Biz Dev team prospect 50+ prospects and meet with about half of those if we feel there’s an opportunity. We always make a point to meet with current clients and vendors and take them out for a drink or dinner.

#3 Exhibitors– me and my team map out the exhibit floor and we do a spreadsheet with a quick summary of what each exhibitor offers and how the service may be beneficial for us. We always try to connect with them before attending the conference this way we can take action while meeting them at their booth.

  • What makes a conference great? To have an outstanding conference you need to have these things in place.

#1- a great venue.
#2- a great app and site so that your speakers, exhibitors, sponsors and attendees can connect before, during and after the conference.
#3- a unique networking area so that all the people who are interested in connecting can use the space to do just that.
#4- Make sure that the exhibitors are relevant to the conference and that they have a great set up with interactive components in the booth. Above all promoters need to work with companies to do a better job working their booths. Most companies fall short of getting this right because their staff is either not friendly nor helpful for the attendees.
#5- Create a kick ass badge and make sure they can be scanned.
#6- You need to have a lineup of outstanding speakers who provide thought provoking content that can be used in everyday business. I believe a speaker needs to have a proven track record. If the attendees don’t consider them a mover and shaker in their industry or for the subject they’re speaking about then they will not have faith in the info they present. Just having a cool PowerPoint presentation won’t work either. Giving us their views on how business should be operated or self-promoting their products and services is useless and has no value to the attendees. If they’re going to cite other business leaders or talk numbers with the attendees then the conference promoters need to do their due diligence to make sure it’s accurate. (ex: at a recent conference a speaker stated that the founder of Oracle was someone other than the 3 original founders which were Larry Ellison · Bob Miner · Ed Oates). Misinformation and inaccurate content is the worst type of content.

  • What have I seen that’s unique at conferences? Robotics competition, Shark Tank,  type pitches, Hackathons & Artist or Comedians performing at after parties attract a lot of people and are great for networking. Competitions like Golf and Bowling are a great way to help entrepreneurs connect and have fun.
  • How can attending conferences help your business? For me it’s been effective because I meet other entrepreneurs, potential partners and hires that I would not have otherwise met. Not to mention staying on the cutting edge of the industry changes.
  • Who are the top 3-5 speakers you’ve seen recently? Deepak Chopra,Tony Robbins, Mike Benioff, Barbara Corcoran, Jay Abrahms, David Bowden
  • Who would you like to hear speak? Richard Branson, Ellon Musk, Melanie Dodarom, Jeff Weiner, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates & Warren Buffett

For a list of conferences I attend you can visit the events page on my company site –

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