The Ultimate Guide to Conferences

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Every year, Europe hosts hundreds of tech conferences catering to every possible interest. But attending a conference isn’t just a case of registering and showing up. Like lots of things in life — the more you put into a conference, the more you’ll get out of it.  

 

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list answering the most urgent questions any conference poses. We spoke to two of our most seasoned conference attendees — analyst Sara Takeuchi and investment manager Gabriela Brodzinska — to get their best tips.

things you should take to the conference

1. HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR THE CONFERENCE?

  • Don’t just default to the best-known conference in your sector. Instead, research all relevant conferences at the beginning of each year and plan two quarters ahead.

 

  • Think niche! For example, perhaps instead of attending a very general conference on AI, it might make more sense to attend a conference on the digitization of customer services if this is more relevant to your focus area (eg. how AI can be applied to customer services).

 

  • Set goals for the conference before you arrive: these might be for yourself (learning more about a particular subject) or the company (meeting as many investors as possible). Use these goals to make a plan: research panel discussions, side events and register for anything that’s relevant.

 

  • Pick up your badge before the event to save you from queuing on the morning of the conference.

 

  • Pack with an eye to comfort: think shoes you can spend all day in, smart-casual outfits that you can wear in a meeting or a night out and t-shirts or hoodies branded with your company’s logo.
Gabriela Brodzińska

2. I’M AT THE CONFERENCE: HOW CAN I MAKE THE MOST OF IT?

  • Bear in mind the matchmaking platforms and be selective with your invitations, considering your conference goals before you set up meetings.

 

  • Plan your meetings well in advance, increasing your chances of securing time with the other guests who are most valuable for your business.

 

  • Bring a water bottle! Staying hydrated will give you more energy and chatting a lot will be thirsty work.

 

  • Remember to take notes: you won’t remember the minutiae of each session or talk and conference.  

 

  • Keep yourself fuelled: schedule your lunch break to maintain your energy throughout the day.

 

  • Each evening, summarize your day by organizing new contacts, jotting down ideas and creating a to-do list for follow ups and sending additional material.  

 

  • Use LinkedIn’s QR code scanner to exchange contacts (this is in at the right hand of the search bar in the home screen). Just add a short note ““Hello from [event name]” to personalize the invitation.
Sara Takeuchi

THE CONFERENCE IS FINALLY OVER: NOW WHAT?

  • Evaluate your experience - think what kind of value did this conference bring to you.

 

  • Follow up with all the people you spoke to and if needed, schedule online meetings.

 

  • Brief your team: what were the key topics and takeaways? What kind of business relationships did you establish?

 

  • Personal branding and networking are key in the VC world: make sure you prepare a memorable recap for LinkedIn.

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