Wrap-Up conferences like a pro

Wrap-Up conferences like a pro

The event is finished, you managed to get your energy back, and your sleep cycle back to normal. Is there something more you could do to get even more out of the event itself when the curtains rolled down already? Yes, of course! Quite a lot actually, so let's check that out.

Build your network

After the conference, another chapter begins. Follow up with all the new connections made during the event and parties. Be for the ones that you care about the most. Try to be memorable. At the very least, a LinkedIn invite would do. However, considering who do you have in mind, that may not be the platform to go for. If that's more of a geeky guy maybe Github follow can be better? Or if he's into it, maybe follow on X? Or Instagram? Choose the one that makes the most sense for the one being invited.

Sending personalised invites can do wonders to get the most responses here. Mention where and when you met or express appreciation for a speaker's session. If you want that to truly shine, after getting into one's network, shoot at least with one more additional question. It could relate to their projects, roles, or backgrounds. If you're unsure, simply ask how they're doing post-event and if they enjoyed it. This initial engagement lays the groundwork. If you reconnect in 2-3 months for a referral, opinion, or business proposal, the relationship has a head start. Breaking the ice beforehand puts you in a stronger position to pick up where you left off.

Social media presence

Give yourself a chance to be found by others. Make yourself discoverable. For example by sharing your conference experience. Initially, it might seem challenging to articulate more than a smile-inducing comment, but even a basic message as this will do:

Thank you, Conference XYZ 2023! What an incredible experience! Looking forward to next year!

Above that you can try to share key takeaways, lessons learned, or fresh perspectives gained. Try to tag organizers, sponsors, or standout speakers to amplify your reach. It's common for some speakers to have minimal presence on your chosen platform. Don't be surprised if some of the speakers will not have a notable presence on the platform of your choice. Not everyone prioritizes their public image or personal brand, but that shouldn't hinder you from building your own. If you're comfortable, consider publishing blog posts, LinkedIn articles, or engaging social media updates to establish your thought leadership. Longer-form content, tailored to the platform, can help you connect with a larger audience by sharing your experiences.

Do your sum up

Revisit the initial thoughts and goals you set before attending the conference, which were outlined in the first article of this series. Assess your achievements: did you hit the mark, come close, or at least make progress? If so, implement what you’ve learned. Apply new strategies, share insights with your team, and leverage newfound knowledge to drive innovation in your work.

If you fell short, rethink your process. Was the goal off or the execution faulty? Identify at least one area for improvement and focus on refining it at the earliest opportunity. Be honest with yourself here. Sometimes we just get stuck in a vicious cycle of self-validation and it's hard to admit that some of the events are just not worth it. Been there, done that a dozen times, try to avoid it for yourself.

Feedback to the organisers

Every event is at least in some way about becoming a closely bounded community for a given amount of time. This, in itself, should inspire a concern for the common good. Part of fostering this involves offering feedback to the conference organizers about your own event experience. Most conferences typically distribute online questionnaires with simple Likert scale or NPS-style questions. Respond to these surveys. Share your insights on what aspects were commendable and pinpoint areas for improvement to enrich future experiences. Contributing in this way helps shape future events, making them even a mere 1% better for upcoming attendees.

Budget and Expense Review

One of the most often heard counterarguments for conferences is that they are just not worth it. Don't trust that by heart. Check it out yourself. The first step is to be fully aware of the resources you had to assign to make it work. Travel, food, and hotels are the usual lines in such reports. But crucially - count how much time & effort you have assigned. Very often this is a much more costly part of a conference than the logistics themselves.

Keep in mind that unless your sole purpose is pitching and sales talks, calculating the exact return on investment (ROI) from the event is practically impossible. The connections made there can develop in days, yet some may take years till you will find your network beneficial. Don't stress too much about this if you are not on a very tight budget. It's also important that fun is also an income. Engaging in something unique, being part of a community, learning new things, or simply having a great time at afterparties are valid reasons to consider attending the event again in the future!

And that would be a wrap of this series about mastering tech conference events. I hope at least some of the tips & tricks described here will allow you to get a better experience from any type of event you go for in the future! Do you have any tips of your own? Let me know what I could have missed here!