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How do you get value from conferences?

Today and tomorrow, Disruptor Jo is attending and presenting at the Great Associations Meetings and E
Disruptors Handbook
How do you get value from conferences?
By Disruptors Handbook • Issue #92 • View online
Today and tomorrow, Disruptor Jo is attending and presenting at the Great Associations Meetings and Events Symposium. It is an event about events, and it’s a chance to explore some of the issues affecting delegate value at events.
Of course, we are talking about the potential of turning part of an Association, corporate or industry event into a chance to actively build solutions to problems. But there are other ways to improve delegate value at events.
There are effectively three reasons why people attend conferences:
1. To meet potential customers and sell products and services;
2. To learn about your sector or your industry; and
3. To network and party.
At least two of the above three reasons require that delegates are connected to someone useful to them. At a large event with hundreds, if not thousands of participants, it’s hard to be able to find the key people you want to meet.  
Some of the ideas coming up here to address meeting people include providing participant information (no-one reads this), networking events (these don’t work because people tend not to share information that will be useful to them, games (can get complicated) and a highly targeted program (which still may not attract the right people, because delegates get lost and just rock up to another session).
But probably the two most successful mechanisms to meet someone useful at events is through speed networking, or self-selection around problems worth solving. Structuring speed networking around domains or expertise can help bridge the gap between delegates.  
Best of all, though, when you are trying to get value from an event, is building a solution to a problem. Do you have any other ideas?  Share your ideas with us!

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