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Simple Tips and Tricks to Get the Most Out of a Business Convention

Simple Tips and Tricks to Get the Most Out of a Business Convention

Every business has the opportunity to take advantage of industry conventions, trade shows or conferences. These are events where everyone related to an industry comes together to build connections and network. If your business is not taking advantage of these opportunities, you are definitely missing out.

Yes, attending a convention can be expensive, especially if you consider the travel and hotel expense. However, when done right, this is money well spent because, the return on investment can be phenomenal. Conventions can easily lead to new sales and customers, fresh leads, professional contacts and free media exposure for your business.

Here are some simple tips and tricks to get the most out of every business convention.

Network with the Right People

Whenever you go to a convention you should first have a general idea of who will be there. You should make a list of the most important people for you to network with. When you are at the convention, locate these people and do your best to make a connection with them.

Spending time with people you already know may be fun, but it is the new connections that will truly benefit your business over the long term.

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Keep an Open Mind to New ideas

Conventions are great places to find new ideas and technology. Even if it seems ridiculous to many, that just means that there is more opportunity for you to get in on the ground floor. For example, in the past people have taken for granted the ability to connect the internet to everyday objects.

However, now the Internet of Things is a very real concept, making businesses a lot of money. The lesson is clear. You need to pay attention to new ideas that can be leveraged in the future.

Participate in Breakout Sessions, Seminars, and Speeches

There is usually a schedule of events, as you should plan to attend the ones that are most relevant to you and your business. Make sure that you are strategic about this and find ones that are very specific. Overly generic content is usually a waste of time. You don’t want to sit through a topic that you are already an expert on.

Don’t Miss Opportunities to Network

Just because you didn’t list someone as a person you want to meet, does not mean they cannot be an important connection. You should make it a point to strike up conversations, with as many people as possible. Bounce ideas off to people and see what they think.

Find out if they would be willing to exchange contacts. Don’t engage in pointless small talk, but have meaningful conversations with people about your business and industry.

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Hand Out Company Gifts

People love to receive free things at conventions. Make sure that you come with more than just a boring business card. This is an opportunity for you to put a branded gift into the hands of the public.

With proper customization, your corporate gifts can really stand out and promote your business. People will keep the gift and remember you and your business long after they leave the convention.

Be Prepared with Questions

Conventions are great places to learn. Come prepared with questions you would like answered. If the questions you have are not answered naturally through the convention, then pursue the answers yourself. Make sure you get all of the benefit you can from the convention experience.

Contribute to the Convention When Possible

Remember those seminars and speeches mentioned earlier? Hold one yourself if you can. This is a great way to position yourself as an expert and build sales, leads and connections.

Everyone wants to connect with the expert. That is exactly what you are when you present at a convention.

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Keep your Schedule Flexible

Even though you should always plan what you want to do, who you want to meet, you should also allow yourself some flexibility. When you are on a tight and rigid schedule, you miss out on different opportunities that may present themselves.

If something intriguing comes along, make sure you have the flexibility to pursue it. You are at the convention to get the most benefit, not to mindlessly stick to a prearranged schedule.

Embrace the Unexpected

Without fail, every convention has something not widely publicized that presents a real opportunity. Many times, these are even booths that are ridiculed for taking a chance with a different approach.

They may be placed in the corner or way in the back. Many will have no value to you, but that one diamond in the rough can make a huge difference. Make it a point to find at least one hidden gem like this at every convention you attend.

Leverage What You Learned

Too many people make the mistake of thinking that a convention is over once they get home. You need to take advantage of the knowledge you obtained, the people that you met and the opportunities that presented themselves.

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This is the true value of a convention. If you don’t follow up with leads and opportunities, there is a good chance you only wasted your time and money.

If you follow these simple tips and tricks you will always have a positive experience at every business convention you attend.

Featured photo credit: Infobrandz via Infobrandz.com

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

More About Continuous Growth

Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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