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Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees

Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees: 4 Tactics to Try

Of course you want to provide an exceptional experience for ALL of your conference attendees, but ensuring that happens for your first-time attendees is particularly important. Their decision to attend future events (and possibly even renew their membership) depends heavily on that first experience, so going the extra mile for those folks, in particular, is certainly worth it.

What does “going the extra mile” for your first-time attendees look like? Here are a few tactics worth trying:

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How to Ace Networking at Your Next Industry Event: 3 Techniques

Posted by Krissy Conant


It’s no secret that most people are nervous when it comes to networking. You’re usually walking around a room full of strangers who are only connected through your industry and feeling the pressure to strike up one (or more!) random conversation. Sounds kind of intimidating, right?

While we can’t take all your jitters away, we do have some recommendations to help you make the most out of any upcoming networking event with less stress. Take a look at these three techniques you should try to feel your best when it comes to networking.

1. Dress the Part

This is definitely one of those times where you might want to start off by faking it until you make it. It’s commonly believed that external confidence can help with internal confidence as well, so what’s the harm in giving it a shot? Start by checking out the event’s webpage to see if there is a dress code included. If so, you’re set!

Otherwise, take a second to consider the type of event you’re looking to attend. The standard vibe is typically business casual for most networking events. However, when in doubt, always dress up to avoid sticking out as someone who doesn’t take the networking event seriously.

2. Research 3 Hot Industry Topics

Trying to start small talk is typically no fun for anyone. To avoid some unnecessary silence, look up at least three industry related topics in advance to have some common ground for you and your peers to talk about. You should be able to find these topics by following industry advocacy updates on the federal and state level and see if any topics are being promoted by industry influencers.

Try to make sure that you do read up a bit on these topics, as you don’t want to introduce some new information and not have anything to say beyond the basics. Remember, providing relevant intel will not only help you build new relationships but establish you as an informed member of your industry.

3. Nail Your Elevator Pitch 

You’re probably at an industry networking event for two reasons: to promote your organization and to build your professional connections. Therefore, someone is inevitably going to ask you more about your organization (What do you do? Where do you work? What does your organization do?). Don’t let this moment take you by surprise! 

Make sure that you practice your elevator pitch in advance so that you can clearly explain to others what your organization is all about! This pitch is essentially free marketing, so try to also provide your business card during your pitch to connect your verbal explanation with a visual display.

So, after the event is over, what’s next? Most professionals are going to start searching for their new connections online and will probably come across your personal LinkedIn. But what about your organization’s LinkedIn page? If you’re not sure what to include, take a look at our guide, The Lowdown on LinkedIn, to see how you can best represent your organization on LinkedIn!

The Lowdown on LinkedIn  Best practices for your association or chamber Download this guide

Topics: association leadership, small staff association, Small Staff Chatter, conference, marketing

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