How to get a return on your conference investment

by Kate on October 13, 2012

I’ve been thinking about conference return on investment after attending the FCA National Franchise Conference earlier this week. We’re all looking after the dollars these days, and conference budgets are a prime one for the accountants to put under the microscope. A conference can be a fantastic business and learning opportunity, but it won’t happen without effort.

Here are seven tips to help you demonstrate a solid return on investment from time and money spent at conferences.

  1. Have a positive attitude. If you’re there, be there with a mindset to make it worthwhile. Think ahead about what you want to achieve that will help you business.
  2. Plan ahead. Go through the delegate list and tick off the people you want to meet. Follow tip number 4 and you’ve a decent chance of meeting many of them. Review the agenda and decide which sessions will be of the greatest benefit. Try to attend at least one which is outside your usual area of interest as this helps broaden your idea pool. For example, if you are a finance person, go to a marketing session.
  3. Go to the conference sessions. If you don’t attend the conference sessions, it will be very hard to get value. Here’s the thing, if there are 6 sessions a day, and 3 breaks, and you only attend the breaks, you’ll miss learning opportunities and miss out on meeting 12 people (one on each side in each session).
  4. Speak to people you don’t know. Introduce yourself to the people you are sitting next to (that means don’t leave an empty seat), move around at networking functions. It’s easy to start a conversation, simply ask the person what they are enjoying about the conference, or show an interest in their business.
  5. Seek value. If you’re not getting value from an event the problem starts with you. There’s always at least one thing you can learn from listening to the speakers and sessions.
  6. Provide feedback. Let the organizer know what worked and what they can do better. If you especially enjoyed something, let the speaker or panel member know directly.
  7. Take action. Implement at least one good idea from the conference and connect with the people you’ve met.


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