How to Make the Best Out of Conferences

Make Crush the Most Impactful Event of the Year - For YOU

This post is a translated version of a guest post I wrote for Ukko.fi.  Ukko.fi is a sponsor for Crush Event.  One of my highlights of 2023 was organizing the Crush Event together with Anna Pyykkö, the founder of Female Founders Finland. Over 100 women gathered to learn more about feminism in the context of business – and to network with each other. Networking is one of the best ways to achieve your dreams as an entrepreneur and to get to your career goals. We created Crush for those who want to grow their business, take charge of their future, and do good.  In 2024, Crush will be over double the size, two tracks, side events, a pitching competition, and much more. We are taking over the Stock Exchange Building in Helsinki. We have created so many different ways for people to connect and make it the most impactful conference, but ultimately it is always up to you, how much you will get out of events. Here are some tips for anyone attending any conferences, but also specifically how you can get the best out of Crush. Hope to see you in May 2024!

Apply as a Speaker.

Step into the spotlight, and apply as a speaker. This way more people will see you, your name will be part of conference marketing, and over all it’s good for your personal brand.  We typically get up to 100 speaker applications for Crush, and start making plans for the next event around 10-11 months before. We host several panel discussions, and some topics are very popular, and fill up quickly, but for some topics, we still add speakers up to one month before the event.   

Join as a Sponsor.

Sponsors get visibility at the event, and usually also on event websites and social media. It’s a great way to get yourself and your company in front of the entire audience who is attending and the numerous additional people who are considering attending. Without sponsors and partners, we can not host our events, so we do our best to create experiences that our attendees love, and that there is a win-win for the attendees and sponsors. This means that we work with relevant brands, and know that the sponsorship gives you a great return on your investment.  There are multiple ways to sponsor and partner with us, and most of them include online visibility as well, so your company and you can engage with Crush attendees all year round.   

Partner with Us.

Many events take volunteers, need media partners, or need event production crews or catering. Many events also offer gift bags for attendees and are looking to fill the bags with relevant gifts. We at Crush work with event professionals like Noste Productions, and with many other vendors and partners. Our team is super small, and our hands are full, so we outsource and partner for mutual benefit where we can.  Let’s join forces in a way that benefits your business and ours.   

Buy the Correct Ticket. Like the Crush Founders Networking Ticket.

Make sure you buy the correct ticket to the conference. Many conferences have side events, the ability to network with other attendees on a virtual platform or the possibility to attend workshops or pitching events. There will be GREAT networking opportunities anyway at Crush, but we made it even easier with the Founders Networking Ticket. Take advantage of dedicated networking opportunities, special seating, and virtual networking. This gives you golden opportunities to meet like-minded individuals, exchange ideas, and expand your professional network on VIP seats. 

Follow conferences on Social Media and be Active. 

Get active on social and know who else is part of the conference community. We feature amazing people, stories and information on our social media all the time. See who follows and engages with us on social media. They are rebel leaders who believe in our mission, and people who get things done. Follow each other, connect, and reach out. Let us be the easy bridge that connects you.  Follow Crush.Movemet on Instagram.

Easy Social Media Tips. 

Networking can be as easy as sending a message “I saw you are following Crush too, I really like their message of supporting other women” or “We both commented on the latest post by Crush Movement, are you going to their event in May?” Or create posts about the conference you will be attending. Good post ideas about Crush:
  • “I just bought a ticket, who else is coming?” Introducing yourself, and announcing you will be at the event, and connecting with others who will be there. 
  • “I’m looking forward to…” Sharing your excitement and what you would like to receive at the event. 
  • “Any other…. coming to Crush?” Fill in the blank with whom you would like to connect. 
  • “My favorite speaker…” Gets the attention of the speaker too, and allows you easily get connected or noticed by one or more of our amazing speakers. 
  • Remember to use and follow our hashtags: #CrushMovement and #CrushEvent2024 

Think about your Personal Brand. 

To get the most out of networking, think about your personal brand first. I’m sure you already know how to introduce yourself and your company well, but there is much more to personal branding.  The most important thing is that you know your own long-term goals and know how to communicate them to others. A funny thing happens when you start telling others about these big goals, you almost have to start acting on them and making them happen.

Know your SWOT and Objectives. 

Do a SWOT analysis of you and your business, where you review your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. When thinking about your personal branding, you can think about how to highlight your strengths more.  It is also good to recognize weaknesses and thus systematically start thinking about how you can get concrete help to develop them.  Threats can also become smaller when you dare to think about different solutions through your networks. Even a competitor can become a partner – for example, you could even split an Expo Booth at Crush together and it’s a win-win for all.  Keep your goals big and have clear objectives for what you want to accomplish, and remember that the same results can be reached in many different ways – or through many people in different networks – so don’t get too locked into just one way. Knowing yourself better will help you to network better with an open mind!

Update your Social Media Profile or Bring Business Cards.

Make sure your social media profiles are up-to-date. Or bring business cards.  It’s good to have a fresh photo of you on social media, making it easier for people to connect with you after meeting you at the event.  Many people also check the social media channels during the event. Post during the day, or at least the day before or on the morning of to announce you will be attending the event. It will be easy for someone to approach you via social media and suggest meeting up. 

Just say “Hello”.

Approachability is key. Smile, maintain eye contact, and be open to starting conversations. Remember, everyone is there to network, so don’t be afraid to start discussions. And hey, we ALL lived through Covid, and then have been working at home even after that, so all of our networking skills can be a little rusty. Let’s try all of us to have more open minds, and make it easy for each other to connect.  Smile. Say hello. Say something about the weather. Ask if this is your first Crush or what challenge in the world you would like to solve. And when someone does this, answer back.  Walk up to Expo booths and connect with people at the booths – they are just waiting to know more of you! 

Connect on LinkedIn.

When you meet new people, make a habit making sure you are connected on LinkedIn. This provides you with an easy way to stay in touch. If you don’t use LinkedIn regularly, then ask their Instagram or TikTok handle, but don’t leave it after the event to stalk your new friends online. Boldly say “I want to stay in touch and make sure I am following the correct account.”

Engage with Speakers.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions during Q&A sessions or approach speakers afterward. This direct interaction can lead to valuable connections. You can even do research on our speakers before the event.   

Follow Up.

Within a day or two after Crush, reach out to the connections you made. Express your pleasure in meeting them and reference specific points from your conversation to make your message more personalized.  Don’t leave things hanging and trust luck, but take action and connect with people. Even if you didn’t connect with someone at the event, message them “I noticed you attended Crush as well, unfortunately, we didn’t get to talk there, but I would like to get connected with you.” 

Review and Reflect.

Take some time to review your notes and reflect on the event.  What did you learn? What connections were most valuable? Use this insight to refine your networking strategy for future events and your actions you want to take next.  We always send a survey asking your opinions about the event, and really appreciate your feedback. We will make improvements to the event based on your feedback. 

Take Action. Be the Rebel.

You will get ideas of action, or make new important connections.  If you discussed potential collaborations or business opportunities, follow through with any promised actions.  Make small changes in your everyday work and join us being rebel leaders who are building this world more socially sustainable and equal for all.  In a world where people are only looking for themselves, it’s pretty rebellious to be helpful, kind, and growing your community in a way that benefits everyone around you. The good will come back to you.   Learn more about Crush Event and be part of the movement.

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