Pre-Game and Pre-Schedule:
One of the biggest ways to maximize your experience is to pre-plan the entire trip. Take some time to review the expo schedule and map out a tentative list of speakers and seminars to attend. Once mapped out, brainstorm questions you’d like to ask at each session. A strong game plan going into the expo and knowing exactly what you’d like to see and accomplish will help get the most out of the event.
Another strategy is to find out what other people of interest are planning on attending the event. Pre-schedule times to meet and discuss any possible business opportunities or just to meet face to face. As functional as Skype is, it will never overtake the importance of personal interaction.
Network with Everyone and Attend After-Hours Events
One of the most fruitful things you can do at an event is network with the people, speakers, and booths at the event. Every person at a Joomla! event has something they can teach or offer.
Go outside of your comfort zone and strike up conversations with as many people as possible. Never feel embarrassed. Chances are that they were happy you took the first step to strike up a conversation, after all, that’s why they are there, too. Also, make sure to exchange business cards with every person you meet.
If the event is offering any type of after event parties or dinners, make sure to attend. Many times, this is your best chance to connect with others and learn about their businesses and interact.
Lastly, it is important to set aside a block of time about a week after you return from the expo to take action and get in touch with each contact and let them know that you appreciated meeting them. This will make you stick out in their minds and further your relationship with them.
Collect Blog Content
Every event presents a perfect opportunity to collect high quality Joomla!-related blog content for your website. Each speaker, breakout, and seminar you attend can be transformed into a great blog post. Take photos, videos, and keep your ears open for tips, tricks and breaking news because all of these items could be spun off into amazing content.
Chew on this: For every one person attending the event, there are at least a handful of people who weren’t able to come. With this being said, your smart phone allows you the opportunity to transcend the walls of the expo and get engaged with others in the Joomla! world via the web.
Go out of your way to post photos, videos, status updates, and tweets about the event. Make sure to use the proper #hashtags and tag the proper people in your posts. This is a great way to get people outside of the expo engaged in what’s going on and at the same time establish your business as an authority.
Question and Answer
A week prior to the event, make your social networks aware which sessions you plan on attending and invite your followers and fans to send questions for you to ask. Add these questions to your own and post all the responses in your blog.
This is again another great way to establish yourself as an authority and get your audience interested in visiting your website.
Here are some other helpful things to keep in mind for Joomla! events:
- Always plan ahead and bring extra business cards.
- Proceed with an open mind and collect all of the information possible.
- Have fun! Yes, it’s a business trip, but make sure to take some time to see the local city, restaurants, and attractions.
If you have never attended a Joomla! expo, I would strongly encourage you to make that your next quarter goal. Industry events can be some of the most rewarding ways to educate yourself, meet new people, and help grow your Joomla! business (not to mention you’re able to write off the entire trip on your taxes).
To find many great Joomla! events happening around the world, visit the official Joomla! Calendar. I want your input and what you have found as the best ways to maximize your Joomla! event experience.