How to Rock Your Next Business Conference

How to Rock Your Next Business Conference

I spent the last month at three different weeklong conferences:

South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

Alt Summit in Palm Springs, CA.

And a conference for attorneys in Las Vegas, NV.

As much as I love traveling and speaking to business owners on trademarks and copyrights, I’m also ready to spend the next year as a hermit in my office.

But I did learn a lot about how to make the most out of a business conference and keep your sanity.


Save from the start

Attending a conference is a big investment. There’s the conference fee, travel,

You can make it cheaper by applying to speak at the conference and staying with friends or people you’ve met (and thoroughly vetted) in the conference facebook group.

Luckily, most of the things you purchase while away on business are a business expense. So you can deduct them from your annual tax bill to reduce the amount you pay.


Show up early

I like to show up a day early in the city to spend some time as a tourist. I like to see the sights, eat at the best spots, and enjoy a little vacation before the conference crowd comes to town.

I used to show up on day one of the conference and I would always leave feeling like I missed out on the city. So now I arrive a day early and leave a day late.

It costs a little extra, but it’s a business expense and you get a little rest before the conference starts.


Find goals

You won’t be able to do everything: go to every event or session.

So make a plan before the conference starts. Pick one or two key areas that you want to learn about and focus on those. The rest is gravy.

This helps you feel relaxing during the conference and not like you need to attend every event.

I used to get really stressed out trying to attend all the sessions and events. I’d get major FOMO. By picking one or two areas, I’m able to have a better experience.


Mix it Up

Sometimes it’s really fun to bring family on a conference trip.

I bring my husband along sometimes for a mini vacay.

There’s definitely advantages to going with a group. You have a travel buddy, you’re not alone all week, and you get to share the experience with your people.

And sometimes I go alone. There’s advantages to conferencing alone too. You can focus on meeting new people and making the most out of the conference.


Take the night off

I used to attend every networking event at night and it left me so burned out by the end of the week.

Now, I make time for self-care.

I try to attend one or two networking events at night and save the rest of the week for relaxing.

At our most recent trip to SXSW, I was invited to a swanky VIP event the first night of the conference. It was a great chance to network but I knew I wanted to spend my first night in Austin with my husband eating barbeque at a gas station (try Rudys!) instead of eating stuffy banquet food in a hotel ballroom.


Talk to everyone

I’m an introvert by nature. But a conference is the place to talk to anyone and everyone.

Trust me, no one thinks it’s weird. We’re all here to network.

I’ve met some of my best friends by sitting next to them at a conference and saying, so what do you do?