4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your ABI Conference Experience

May 31, 2018 | Kathy Anderson

Kathy Anderson; Vice President, Member Development and Programs; ABI

The upcoming Taking Care of Business Conference in Coralville will bring together over 500 business leaders from across the state of Iowa. From June 5-7, you’ll make connections with attendees representing a wide variety of industries, across a myriad of positions and experience levels. But with so much to do and so many people to talk to, how can you get the most out of your ABI conference experience? Follow the tips below to help ensure you take full advantage of this unique opportunity.

  1. Reach out. A week before the conference, check out the attendee list on the ABI website to look for people you already know. Then, reach out via email to tell them you’re looking forward to seeing them and to find out what’s new in their lives and careers. (Have they changed jobs? Companies? Are they leading new efforts within their organization?) You’ll open the door for conversation and networking, and you’ll hit the ground running at both the Welcome Reception and sponsored after-hour events.
  2. Branch out. After you review the list of conference attendees, make a list of 5-10 new people you’d like to know, and make an effort to connect with them during the conference. Also, mentally note the Leadership Iowa class and first-time conference attendees. At the conference, introduce yourself with a spirit of curiosity and generosity. Go out of your way to greet them, ask them about themselves and find out how you can be helpful.
  3. Plan it out. Review the conference agenda online and make a plan for how you’d like to spend your days (but be sure to remain flexible as opportunities unfold). Also, download the conference app—available from both the App Store and Google Play. It will provide up-to-the-minute information on the conference, including details about speakers, room changes, inclement weather and more. Be sure to include your social media handles in your app profile to make the most of networking opportunities.
  4. Help us out. After the conference, keep an eye on your email inbox for your conference evaluation form. When it arrives, fill it out and return it ASAP. Your valuable feedback will help ABI make the conference even better for you in 2019 and beyond.

See you at the conference. I can’t wait to reconnect!

Kathy Anderson is vice president of member development and programs at the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI). You may email her at kanderson@iowaabi.org.