For the upcoming A4U Expo, which starts tomorrow in Barcelona, we organized a contest to find a blogger who would join us in Barcelona and write for us. Even though the contest wasn’t the success we hoped for when we started this, we have a winner: Gillian Cook from SEOptimise will be going to Barcelona! Find her entry below and watch out for her thoughts on A4U Expo Barcelona 2012! A few tips on how to become the social butterfly of A4U, make your boss fall in love with your brilliant contributions, and make legitimate friends who are more than distant contacts.
Before The Conference
- Teachers Pet. Work out the greatest challenges facing your boss or business. Establish which session will give you meaty solutions to these dilemmas. Does your MD go on about their fear of the dreaded cookie law or how the affiliate network has been smacked by Penguin? Make sure you come back with tangible ways to fix these problems.
- Hit the books. Familiarise yourself with the agenda. Do your research and figure out which sessions are going to be indispensable to you. If the session is early in the day, perhaps set a wake up alarm in case you’re out late the night before.
- Create a stalker list on Twitter. Who do you want to talk to at A4U? Track them down now, start chatting with them online, and suggest meeting up for a coffee. Conferences are a great place to contact people who otherwise would be very difficult to meet.
- Remember your Digits. Your website traffic is likely to have experienced some effects from Penguin or Panda. Dig into your analytics and pull out some statistics. If you have facts and figures at the ready, you’ll look smarter than the average bear and if a competitor pipes up, it’s easier to find out if they came off better or worse.
- Business Cards. Make sure you have business cards with the correct contact details to hand out to the people you’re going to meet. Don’t have company business cards? Order your own from a printing site. It seems simple but it’s often overlooked.
At The Conference
- Smile. If you’re not feeling approachable, this simple act will make others think you’re pleasant, even with a hangover.
- Live blog or actively use Twitter. Gain exposure while helping others catch up on any points they missed. Join conversations and make sure to use the conference hash tag.
- Snap ID Tags. Take photos of people’s lanyards as you meet them to remember their names. During breaks add them to LinkedIn, + Circles, and track them down on Twitter. Alternatively, download CardMunch, a business card reader application which automatically adds people to your LinkedIn.
- Hands Up. People always notice the man with the mic – so take control of it! I challenge you to ask a question at every panel you attend. Be sure to introduce yourself and what company you’re from before you ask your question.
- “What did you think?” In the buffet queue or while waiting for the next session to begin, ask your neighbour what they thought of their last session. It’s a simple question, everyone will have a basic opinion, and the conversation can go from there.
- Force yourself to go to the networking events. Don’t go for a siesta – go out! A4U have great networking nights you should definitely take advantage of.
- Introduce and connect other people. This makes you look like you’re in control and helps build stronger connections. Don’t be shy, if you see someone standing alone bring them into your conversation.
After The Conference
- Follow up quickly and efficiently whether that’s finding people on professional networks, sending the emails that you said you would, or writing a blog post. Do it while the conference is fresh in people’s mind.
- Connect with the speakers. Some presenters have their own personal blog. Write a comment on any posts about their presentations or give them feedback through Twitter.
- Report back to your boss with the solutions you found to the problems that were identified before you went to A4U. Do a blog post recap on the key conference takeaways or run a learning lunch seminar once you’re back in the office to share the best ideas you picked up. If you are able to prove to your boss that the conference was valuable, it’s more likely that your company will send you again!
- Read other peoples blog posts about the conference and leave a comment.
- Speakers Slides. Get access to the speaker’s slides. There is so much information packed into two days and additionally there are quite often multiple presentations running at the same time. Even if you’re there, you won’t see it all and this can be a good way to catch up on what you missed.