A few weeks ago we posted an article titled “5 Tips to Ensure You Pick the Right Event to Attend,” where we outlined some key research to do before selecting which clinical research conference(s) to attend. In this post we will take a look at what you should do before, during and after the event. Attending a conference or trade show can be a whirlwind, so it’s important to have everything planned before you ever set foot into the event space.
Before the Event:
Create an Itinerary:
Before you even leave your office for an industry event, it is important to create a plan for what you want to do while you are at the conference. Start by reviewing the website of the hosting organization or group. There is usually a great deal of useful information including schedules, sessions, hotel information, exhibitors and key dates. Using this information you should be able to create an organized itinerary for your trip. Schedule the sessions you want to attend, map out the location of people you want to meet and other similar activities.
Get Input from Coworkers:
If you are the only representative from your organization attending an event it’s safe to assume you are not the only one who wanted to go. In order to benefit both yourself and your organization as a whole make sure that before you leave you talk with coworkers and see if they have any information they would like you to bring back or find out while you are there. A good suggestion is to show coworkers the list of sessions you plan to attend and ask them to write down any questions they might have about the presentation topic. This way you can lookout for the answer, or even ask the presenter during one of your sessions. This helps to educate everybody in your organization.
During the Event:
Visit the Exhibit Hall:
Many people may feel like stepping into the exhibit hall is like stepping into a lion’s den. While all of the salespeople may seem overwhelming, it is important to take a look at what is being offered by the exhibiting companies. Visiting the exhibit hall can give you an overview of the new technologies available to clinical research professionals. This can also be a great place to collection literature and business cards for coworkers who you feel could benefit from an organization’s products or services. While in the exhibit hall it is important to think not only about how you could benefit from working with these companies, but other coworkers or your organization as a whole.
Go to Sponsored Events:
Sponsored events generally get very good turnouts. People from all areas of the conference come together and this give you the perfect time to network, network and network. Now is the time to show off what your organization can do and help to meet the necessary people help group your business.
Swap Information with People in Seminars:
Some of the best places to meet others in your industry is during the educational sessions. While you are in these sessions always be open to talking and networking with others. Doing this can greatly benefit yourself and your organization. Meeting people in educational sessions is a good way to find organizations who might be having similar challenges as you. Make sure you swap information and you can use each other a resource to discuss solutions to mutually shared challenges.
After the Event:
Post Event Debrief:
Once you get back to the office and get all caught up on the emails you missed make sure to schedule a debrief meeting for your coworkers and your boss. Use this time to share all of the relevant information that you learned. This is a good time to update everybody on all of the information they asked you about before you left. It is also a great time to show your boss how valuable the conference was, helping to get you on the list to go again.
Don’t forget to follow-up with the people that you met and networked with at the event. While you may not have any formal business to discuss, it is important to reach out and make sure that both parties are on the same page and connected.