The flocks of professionals who plan, travel, pay and take time to go to conferences globally boggle the mind. Conferences, conventions, trade shows and events generate billions of dollars globally and millions of people attend annually in the United States alone, according to numbers reported over the last five years.
But out of the masses who attend, very few people intentionally build their personal brand by pursuing optional, savvy and powerful ways to create potentially long-lasting value. These efforts could help you reach new stakeholders, add potential clients and create value that could lead to revenue-driving protocol. After all, what’s better than that for you and your career?
Here are some of the great ways you can boost your brand by attending a conference. They’re often hidden in plain sight.
Become A Journalist
Get permission to write an article about the event for an industry newsletter. Find a way to interview or be interviewed on video or through some form of media, like a podcast, during the event. If you work for a company, get permission and some kind of OK to write an article about the conference for your company newsletter. This written-word document could be an interview with a key client or stakeholder that occurs between sessions.
I did this at my first national conference as a small business leader. The articles I wrote and the interviews I recorded turned out to be helpful for my brand. Every person I asked said yes to my interview request. I got to ask questions of corporate leaders, hiring managers and business professionals via one on ones I would have never obtained by just being a participant. Those articles appeared in national magazines, on my company website, and they were shared with the interviewees, who were impressed with my ambition and efforts.
Today, your interviews and articles can be shared on social media channels, websites associated with the conference, blogs and many other ways. The content you develop and record in some way can be used for months to come. It’s a win for everyone involved.
Embrace The So-Called ‘Dirty’ Work
Instead of going to a conference for the entertainment or to tune out and have some fun like most people do, why don’t you find a way to serve in a voluntary role at your next trade show or event? If you go beyond the norm and do the unfavorable yet necessary work, you may ironically brand yourself positively to many people who will see you serve.
In almost every conference or event I do today, I still volunteer for a high-profile, “dirty work” assignment. I have sold books for the keynote speaker when “their person” didn’t show. The result? I got free books and a two-hour one on one with a multimillionaire speaker who could not believe I would inconvenience myself. On another occasion, I grabbed a friend when the union of clean-up staff in Las Vegas walked out, and we cleaned tables for three hours after the event. That occasion won me recognition and a $2,000 pass into the next two regional conferences held around the country.
Call A Secret Meeting
At almost every significant conference I have attended in the last 10 years, I planned a get-together for thought leaders outside of the mandatory and minimum hours I was obligated to do. I would call the group the “Championship Team” or something fun.
Finding other thought leaders during the conference and recruiting key people to have an unscheduled meeting to talk, plan and think can be one of the most rewarding parts of any event. At these meetings, you can develop key partnerships, find co-writers for your journalistic efforts above or create business bonds worldwide.
My Championship Team and I bonded so well, we decided to participate in other events together and built lasting connections. Many of those relationships have lasted many years.
More than money, the relationships and content you stand to create outweigh the obvious face value of any key conference, trade show or event.