I have a big media conference I’m attending this week. The good news is I don’t have to travel for it. It’s actually being held up the street from my apartment. The bad news is I haven’t looked at the schedule yet. Fortunately, I’m a pro at having a productive conference experience, even while pressed for time.

Why You Need to Have a Productive Conference Experience

You need to have a productive conference for one main reason: Time is money. Conferences can help you make money, but you need to know how to work them.

It’s far too often I see business owners wasting their time at networking events simply because they don’t have a game plan. The truth is, with the right game plan, you can have a productive conference experience even if you can’t attend the entire event. Here is how to do that.

Know what your primary goal is.

If you want to have a productive conference experience, you need to have an end game. Since I’m attending a large conference for Hispanic media and influencers, I’m mostly going to seek sponsors and media. That’s really it.

This means I’m checking out the expo hall and attending the events being sponsored by companies I’d like to collaborate with. In fact, I’ve already been in contact with one over email leading up to this event.

Know what your secondary goal is.

Your secondary goal is important because it can also lead to money. For example, I attended this same conference last year and ended up getting a consulting gig out of it. That wasn’t my primary intention, but I had the time so I went for it. Since this worked out so well last year, I’ve made it my secondary goal for the event this year.

Know what materials you need to bring.

It’s important that you bring specific materials so that you have a productive conference experience. Namely, you’ll want to bring business cards. In some cases, you may want to bring a media kit, but in my experience, you may be better off sending that out as an email.

One option that works really well is if you have your media kit on jump drives you can then give to companies you meet. While it’s not necessary, it’s a nice touch.

Focus on the networking.

Unless there is a session that you must go to, I suggest skipping them and focusing on the networking instead. The reason is that if you’ve been in this game long enough the sessions are usually full of basic information you don’t actually need. There’s also a good chance they’ll be recorded for your consumption later.

The only exception is if you’re trying to meet someone who is attending a specific session. For example, I am be attending a session that is being sponsored by a specific company so that I say hello to their marketing team.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to have a productive conference experience can help you make more money in your business. Follow these tips to help you create an effective game plan.