Living Entrepreneurship Blog / Babson Entrepreneurs

How to get the most out a conference

Lauren DiPerna M’ 15, one of the Summer Venture Program participants, shared what she learned from attending the 2014 CropLife America’s National Policy Conference in Washington DC at a peer to peer session on May 28. CropLife America is a trade association that represents more than 60 developers, manufacturers, formulators and distributors of crop protection products. DiPerna went to the conference because she could meet lots of people she wanted to talk to at one place. DiPerna recommended to other entrepreneurs to find trade associations that represent the industry that they are aiming to work in and go to the events to meet the people who are actually work in the industry.

The main takeaway from DiPerna’s experience was to search attendee list in advance and reach out to as many people as you can before attending the conference. This can actually make you feel more comfortable with the people and help you make further connections with the people before and after the conference. You can also look at attendee lists from previous conferences. You can also utilize the list of people for future references when you are reaching out to people as potential customers or investors.

For entrepreneurs trying to make sales, big corporations want them to know the hot-button issues of the industry. Because conferences sometimes get emotional or controversial, conferences can show the language that people in the industry use. Attending conferences and listening to how people talk will help catch the changes in the industry and give a better idea how to sell to the people.

Conferences allow people to gain important contacts, general information about the industry and even contracts if you are successful in connecting and selling with the right people. DiPerna emphasized to contact as many people as possible, set up meetings and to bring one-pager with infographics to show people that you are prepared. The next time you sign up for a conference, prepare advance and you could meet potential customers and investors.