Your Pre-Conference Checklist
On Halloween, while most of my friends will be dressing up for Halloween shenanigans, 6 friends and I will be embarking on our second #QBConnectorBust road trip to San Jose. If last year is any indication, we will have a lot of laughs, we will play Intuit sponsored road trip games, we will be posting to social media, and will have very little room to move around. One of the things that made this trip so much fun and a big success is that we planned things out – we didn’t just show up and expect it to all fall into place.
It’s not too early to start your planning strategy for a wildly successful conference!
I’ve put together my thoughts in this three-part series to help you get the most out of QB Connect (and any other conference that might be on your calendar this fall)! Just like a good sale, preparation is key for a good conference. Follow along as we discuss a pre-conference checklist, what to bring, and how to create your post-conference game plan!
Let’s start with the Pre-Conference Checklist. Here are some things you will need to do before you even arrive:
1. Download the mobile app. This app will let you know where you need to be and how to get there. It will also get you connected with vendors, sponsors, and other attendees. The app is also a useful tool for figuring out who you want to meet, whether they be vendors, speakers, or attendees.
2. Get Social! I cannot stress this enough – the more networking you do before the event, the more successful your event will be. Follow the event hashtag on Twitter, join the Facebook group, check out who is attending the show, create conversation, ask and answer discussion questions. Be a little silly. Accountants and business owners alike, LIKE a sense of humor and you will see this when you sign into the social media portion of the conference app. If you’re lucky, you might even get connected with a great ride share in the process!
3. Have a plan. Know which events and sessions you are going to and what you plan to do after hours. While building your schedule, build in time for catching up on email or communicating with the office. Leave some time in your schedule for things you didn’t plan for.” NOTE: Don’t forget to set up an out-of-office message to let mailers know that you are at a conference – and continuing your education! Be sure to give them instructions on what to do in your absence.
4. Plan your elevator pitch. Be ready with a memorable response when people ask – “So, what do you do?” Make sure your answer is concise, unique, and highlights your specialty! Can you boil it down to three words? I can.
5. Decide on your post-conference game plan. If you’re like me, when you get back to the office, you’ll be swamped! Think about how you plan on following up with your contacts and create those processes in your CRM so that once you plug in the new names, your to-do list will automatically be created for you upon your return! You’ll know who you need to call, who you need to email and when to do it all. Most important, all follow-ups are not created equal – have a system for who to call “first thing”.
Stay tuned next week as I talk about how and what and how to pack for a successful conference! I may even give people a peek at the infamous Packing Spreadsheet, if my road trip buddies have their way.
About the Author:
Richard Roppa is the Owner of Quasar Cowboy Consulting. Richard is passionate about Business Process, the entire QuickBooks Eco-Sphere, and helping businesses grow through integrated CRM. Richard has presented in a variety of accounting shows on topics including QBO for Accountants, Engagement Letters, Practice Growth Strategies, CRM, SmartVault, Sales, Practice Management Software, and Cloud Applications. He is also a published author on AccountingWEB.com and The Intuit Accountant Blog.