Between following tweets from BlogWorld Expo, gearing up for Web 2.0 or preparing for a local event, many may say that conference season is upon us – especially for PR, social media and marketing professionals. As someone relatively new to the industry, networking events big and small have been a great way to grow – both professionally and personally.

Last month, I was able to attend my first weekend-long conference on behalf of our client, eBay Classifieds. This was at the Type-A Mom Conference in Asheville, N.C. The weekend’s schedule provided moms and dads a platform to network, share experiences, learn something new and have fun with friends. While my colleague Tonja Deegan and I were there as sponsors, we were able to enjoy several sessions and build relationships with attendees, all while spreading the word on eBay Classified’s safe, local and free classifieds site.

Not only was I taught thing or two about the world of blogging, I was also introduced to different objectives people set while attending these types of events. It is important to set certain standards for yourself in order to ensure that the opportunity is worth the time and expense. Several takeaways that I will be using in the future include the following:

  • Network beforehand: Social media allows us to meet fellow attendees before an event even begins. This makes it easy to bring online relationships to life offline. It is great to leave a conference with new contacts, but helps when the relationships have already started to form in advance.
  • Step out of your comfort zone: If you find yourself at a niche event that might not fit your interests, be open to the experience. Chances are you will acquire new knowledge and likely make connections that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
  • Plan ahead: Researching a conference agenda beforehand is key in prioritizing which sessions or speakers you are most interested in. This is especially helpful for fast-paced events that do not allow much time for planning on-site.

 

This week, I will be attending the 140 Characters Conference (#140conf) here in Detroit. My goals for the day are pretty simple: build upon existing relationships, meet someone new and soak in as much information as possible from the impressive line-up of presenters.

What are some conference you’re looking forward to this season? Will you set objectives for yourself?

— Jamie Patrona