How to Get the Most Out of Attending a BIG Industry Event

by | 29 Apr 2024

Maybe it’s a field day, an Expo, a forum; perhaps a Roundtable or an international industry event like BeefWeek that has hundreds of seminars, forums, launches, dinners, luncheons, exhibitions, competitions and exhibitors. Whichever it is, it’s a BIG deal and you have lots to gain from your experience. The trick is how to do this maximising your time and energy and achieving some short and long term takeaways that can support you in your work / business and future. The last thing we want for you is to miss meeting someone, an experience or an event that you are perfectly matched for! A little planning goes a long way here and knowing why you are going in the first place is a must. I want to share what I’ve seen leaders, just like you, do to ensure they have the best experience they can, leverage the best learnings and come away with networks and leads resulting in positive change for themselves into the future. Here’s what I’ve seen….

1. Tap into Your Positive Mindset

Put yourself first. Give yourself the time, space and energy to prepare and participate well. Prioritise this opportunity. Believe you are meant to be there, even when those niggly thoughts pop into your head questioning if you are up to this event. Know this is where you are meant to be right now. This is about cueing your mindset, making a commitment to yourself and to others that you are going to give this your best shot. Create your own Belief Statement like “I deserve to be at this industry event. I deserve to step in and gain the most from this experience.”

2. Accept Your Emotions and Set Yourself Up for Success

There’s no doubt that attending events can be daunting and even overwhelming. And some personalities can find this harder than others. You might even have second thoughts about attending. You see, we all want to be accepted and to know that people like us. Because we’ve never been to an event like this before, doubts can creep in. Accept these emotions as they come as they are asking you to step into your authentic self – to be yourself and to get ready to enjoy what the experience brings for you. 

3. Plan, Plan and Plan Some More

Benjamin Franklin was spot on when he said “fail to prepare and prepare to fail”. This applies to your BIG event. Take a look at the agenda, the speakers and the exhibitors. Make a list of the things you want to do and the activities you want to be a part of, especially if you’re a speaker too. Work out if you want to meet up with others attending and how this might happen. Don’t leave this til you get there, plan as much of this before you get to the event as possible.

4. Set Some Goals and Targets for Yourself

Think about how to best show up, participate and gain the most from the event. Set some goals and targets;

  • Who do you want to meet?
  • Who do you want to talk to? What do you want to talk to them about?
  • What sessions do you want to attend? What experiences do you want to have? There will be social events, but remember this is about your work and business.

Think about what the key things are you want to get out of this event. Write them down and keep them handy. This brings incredible focus and increases your chances of achieving success.

5. Dust Off Your Elevator Pitch

There’s no doubt you will meet lots of people for the first time. This is your opportunity to connect, develop relationships and increase your profile. Always remember events like this bring together people with shared interests. Prepare an introduction so you’re ready to meet others with confidence. And have an elevator pitch ready to go. This is a short description, just a few sentences of an idea, project or business that ensures the person you are speaking with can understand the concept in a short time. Here’s a structure for your pitch and an example too;

Your business, project or product name  I’m Jo, I work on an industry led program called Beef Connections
The problem or issue you are trying to solve  We work with Beef Australia on this program to support the development of emerging leaders for the Australian beef industry
Your proposed solution  We support the emerging leaders to attend this BeefWeek event to practise their leadership skills in real life
The key benefit of your project / solution  The key benefit is a pool of future leaders, in the making, ready to step into roles across the Australian beef industry with confidence.

Now, read this again and add your own words in. I can tell you, when you get to your event, you’ll be pleased you put the work in to this now!

6. Work Out the Basics

Jot down the event address. Make travel plans. Work out costings. Download an agenda. Tick off exhibitors you want to meet. Check in on the dress code. Pack for all weather. Make contact ahead of time with anyone you are wishing to meet one on one. Everyone will be busy and get even busier once the event starts so it’s important to get into their calendar. Pack some business cards if you have them. Post a few fresh posts on your socials so that when people meet you or check them out, they’ll get a good impression of you, your project, business or product etc.

Over to You

I hope you’ve gained some tips here to help you as you get ready to attend your BIG industry event. Which ones resonate the most? What are you doing to do about them? If you do nothing more, please have a go at developing your elevator pitch. This alone will bring great focus to your time at the event. Please take one or two or maybe even three things from this article and put them in place today. Good luck. And please feel free to reach out to me here if you think I can help in any way.

Until next time!

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Leadership Field Visits – How to Achieve the Best For You

8 Ways to Get the Best From Your Next Leadership Program

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About the Author

Jo Eady

Jo Eady

I’m a leadership specialist, a human centred facilitator and a modern day storyteller. I live in Victoria, Australia. For the past two decades I’ve developed and facilitated a range of leadership initiatives, strategies and programs and have coached many across Australia’s agricultural and rural sectors. I love being a change agent and my key motto right now is courage over comfort. I support others to develop their own leadership essence and shine from the inside out.