Conference season is here! In the iGaming world, this means fellow operators, software providers, payment suppliers, platform companies and many others with valuable insights and connections will all be together in one place. Whether you‘re a globe-trotting networker or attending a local conference, you and your team need a plan to make the most of these events and further your business goals.

To help you get organized, we have created action lists for before, during and after conferences for you to make the most out of this year’s conference season!

Before the Conference

Pre-planning before the conference is critical. Not only is it important to set goals for what you want to achieve by attending, it is also important to do as much heavy lifting as you can before arriving, so that you can spend your time optimally. For example, set goals like:

  • establish two partnership opportunities
  • make four new connections
  • attend two learning sessions

These goals create clear expectations for everyone attending the conference to strive toward.

Once your goals have been set, take concrete steps to make them possible:

  1. Research speakers and attendees

This will help you determine who you want to connect with and where. Book a “coffee catch-up” or reach out to a peer to join you in a specific session that you think they’d find interesting. For people you already know, build a top-of-mind awareness by sharing, liking, or mentioning them and their posts on social media. For those who you don’t know personally, reach out to them or have a mutual connection set up cocktails before dinner. Many conferences also have networking apps where you can follow and connect with new contacts, and send messages to set up appointments.

  1. Engage in speaker conversations

Share your questions or comments with speakers during or after sessions where you’d like to further your knowledge. Look for opportunities during breakout sessions or panel settings for questions and deeper topic discussions.

  1. Utilize your social profiles

Update your company social profiles to be current with images, projects and key highlights from the last six months. This will make it easier for other networkers to recognize you at the conference, and be more familiar with your work when they do.

  1. Develop messaging templates

If you want to be really prepared, create templates to reach out to new contacts or speakers before and during the conference. This way, when you’re rushing through the hectic conference schedule, all you will need to do is enter a name, email address and a bit of context.

At the Conference

Now is the time to execute your plan. Remember that you have a few days to accomplish your goals – don’t pressure yourself to squeeze it all into the first day!

  1. Network methodically

Have a strategy for networking based on your own strengths. Be genuine and be flexible for some impromptu plans to build stronger relationships, and make sure you don’t skip out on evening events. Give your encounters more potential by sitting with people you don’t know during sessions, at lunch or for early morning coffees.

  1. Leave time in between meetings

Be sure to give yourself time to digest meeting content in between meetings, and time to commute from one meeting to the next. Some conference halls can be enormous, so give yourself space to stay on-time with meetings and not leave your new contacts waiting.

  1. Attend all pre-planned events

If you have set-up meetings or dinners, attend all punctually. These are the true relationship and business builders – you don’t want to miss the opportunity to discuss details of your business needs in a more intimate setting.

  1. Be social

Connect in person and online. Watch for conference hashtags to see who is commenting on specific topics of interest for you, and join in! Share your own thoughts on sessions to demonstrate your knowledge, ask questions to see what you may have missed, and message attendees directly who show similar interests.

After the Conference

The conference may be over, and now is the time to follow-up on action items to be sure you make the most out of your days out of office.

  1. Connect on social media

Reach out to everyone you met by connecting on LinkedIn. Be sure to reengage them by adding context in a personalized message about your joint experience at the conference and perhaps one of your own key takeaways.

  1. Facilitate face-to-face meet-ups

Send an email to those connections you want to develop further.

It should be a succinct message that includes context from the conference and the specific goal or outcome desired from the meeting.

  1. Share your thoughts

Not everyone can go to all the sessions at a conference, nor can they connect with every person in attendance. As such, a personalized conference recap can be helpful to your peers and position you as a thought leader within the industry. Post your key takeaways on your social media, and share them personally with new connections. Most importantly, the knowledge you bring back from an event is invaluable to colleagues and team members that weren’t able to attend.

It can be difficult to know where to start with conference networking, and planning ahead makes taking that first step much easier. A carefully developed plan will allow you to have time to attend the sessions that most interest you, build new connections, and perhaps leave time for you to indulge in a post-networking nap!

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Enjoy the season and comment on your pre-conference rituals!