How to Make the Most Out of an In-Person Conference Experience

In-person conferences are back and better than ever. Recently, one50one’s Nadia Policard and Dawnne Amey had the pleasure of attending the National Minority Supplier Development Council’s (NMSDC) 50th Anniversary Conference & Exchange in New Orleans. The conference connects minority-owned businesses with corporations and government agencies looking for products and services. Here are their tips for successfully navigating a conference.

Set clear goals

Go into a conference with a clear goal in mind. How many new connections do you want to make? How (and when) will you follow up with those connections post-conference? Companies and brands attend conferences to explore new ways of spending their marketing dollars. When they decide, you’ll want to ensure that your business is at the front of the line.

Refine your message

Indeed, you already have an elevator pitch for your business, but it’s essential to tailor your message to your audience. You’ll want to communicate what your business does, you’ll also want to find a way to make your business stand out in the context of the conference. For example, at a conference such as NMSDC, your pitch would highlight what hiring a minority-owned business would bring to the table. This tailoring is especially handy during matchmaking events, allowing you to pitch your business to a potential client.

Network with peers

Don’t think of other suppliers as competition at a conference. Use the time in the conference hall between workshops and sessions to hear their stories. Listen to how they grew their business to find inspiration and glean your own lessons. You’ll even be able to pay it forward someday if you need to outsource a particular project.

Continue your education

It’s easy to see the value of networking at a globally recognized conference, but don’t forget the learning aspect. What do you want to commit to learning more about? At NMSDC, Policard and Amey attended workshops on why big corporations and government agencies need to invest dollars in minority-owned businesses. Use conferences to educate yourself on topics you might not necessarily make headspace for otherwise.

Have you included any conferences in your budget for 2023?

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