Tips: Making the most of your conference attendance

Over on TechCrunch, Mark Suster (@msuster), an entrepreneur with two successful exits and now a VC at GRP Partners, has written a thoughtful post on how startups can make the most of any conferences or events that they attend.

I would say that these are good rules for anyone to follow - not just startups. In summary, they are:

  1. Be very targeted in which events you attend
  2. Do leg work before you get to the event
  3. If you sit on a panel, make sure you don’t suck
  4. Focus more on Lobby Conf than on the panels
  5. Consider staying out late, sleeping in
  6. Schedule dinners
  7. Don’t get too wasted 
  8. Don’t assume everybody remembers you
  9. Get a wing man
  10. Close the loop after the show

You’ll have to read Mark’s entire post but there are two points I might adjust, depending on your style and the style of the people you meet.

#6: Instead of scheduling dinners, consider scheduling breakfasts. As much as conferences can have a party atmosphere, you’ll find that some people are early risers who like to get in a workout and have some productive time in the morning.

If some of the folks that you’re looking to make a connection with fall into this category, get in sync with them at your conference.

Also, consider that many times people are just plain tired after a long day of schmoozing and may not have any gas left in the evening. Get ‘em while they’re fresh.

#5: If you’re attempting to make connections over breakfast, consider “early to bed, early to rise” in order to support that strategy. It’s kind of hard to have a breakfast with an early-riser at 7 when you turned-in tipsy at 5.

[Mark Suster on TechCrunch]