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How to Make the Most of Every Business Event You Attend Business events can be like drinking from a firehose. Use these techniques to make the most of it.

By Trevor Cowley Edited by Chelsea Brown

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Business events are super lucrative for entrepreneurs, at least for the ones who come with the right mindset. Others, though, sometimes leave feeling great — but if you audit their progress, little to no forward movement is made. So, what makes the difference between the one who yields fruit and the one who doesn't?

From past experience, I've been both of these types of entrepreneurs, and it's taken me time to learn how to make the most of the events I've attended. What I've come to realize is that events are full of stimulus.

Business events are full of tons of valuable information, incredible presentations, and great networking opportunities, but it's the fact that there are so many valuable pieces that often scatter your focus instead of making you better.

Learning which pieces you'd like to gain and walking in with intention is most important. I've learned to direct my focus to two main actions that I'd like to accomplish during the event — by focusing on networking or taking away immediately actionable steps through the education at the event.

Related: 3 Types of Events Entrepreneurs Must Attend

How to make the most of networking at events

If your goal is networking and making valuable connections for your business, you'll want to focus on creating deep, meaningful relationships.

First and foremost, be curious about who you're talking to. Most often, you're so concerned about talking about your own business that you might chase away the exact people you'd like to attract to your business.

Instead of focusing on yourself, be curious about what they do, who they are and what their goals in life are. Don't just talk about business. Talk about their family, their interests and their passions. Show a genuine interest in who they are, and find the common threads that you share.

If the opportunity presents itself, speak about what you do and how much you enjoy it. Passion is contagious. Put the energy in to show your passion for what you do and how it makes you feel.

Most importantly, don't be that guy or gal running around handing out business cards and moving on to the next person as if it's a race to hand out a card to everyone in the room. Chances are those will just be thrown out, and you'll never get the call you're looking for.

Related: 8 Ways to Get the Most Out of Networking Events

How to make the most of the education from events

Events often have high-level speakers who share valuable information. A lot of the time, it can be so much valuable information that you could never take action on all of it. So, what should you do in that situation?

First, I'll research speakers beforehand if I know who's going to be speaking. I figure out what they teach and what I need most. I had a friend once say, "I'd much rather have just-in-time information instead of just-in-case information." Of course, competency is important for your business, and continuing education is popular in many industries for a reason. But it's easy to get led astray by shiny objects at an event.

Figure out what you need most in your business and who will teach about it. Select a few people who you'll be able to focus on intently, and take diligent notes on their teachings.

Plan the time that you'll implement the strategies, and do it in a strategic way so that you'll be able to measure the results. If possible, take detailed enough notes so a team member can implement some of the other actions you'd like to take.

Most importantly, don't get caught up with the shiny objects and get pulled off course. Directed focus is your number one asset.

Bonus tips

There are a couple of other things you can do to leave a lasting impression on the people you meet at business events. Dressing well is important. The impression people get of you when they first see you is a lasting one. Dress the part, and look sharp.

Remember names as best as you can. Try to prime your memory of them by placing something else that you associate them within your memory and saying their names a couple of times in your head while associating that thing with them in your memory.

Most importantly, remember to be yourself. People will pick up on fakeness — it's easy to want to impress people and be someone you're not. The most important thing is to remember to be yourself and look to create deep, meaningful connections without being fake or lying about who you are.

Related: 3 Ways to Get More Business From Your Next Networking Event

These events can be an extremely valuable place to grow your business, find partners and learn information that will change your business. It's easy to get overwhelmed and spin your wheels instead of gaining the traction you're looking for.

If you can show genuine interest, build rapport and focus on specific, actionable steps you'd like to accomplish when leaving, you'll see the benefits you're looking for from attending.

Trevor Cowley


Trevor Cowley is a 38-year-old serial entrepreneur, investor, writer, and podcaster. He’s a co-owner in 5 businesses that collectively produce over eight figures. He co-hosts a top 100 business podcast on iTunes called Real Business Owners. Trevor is committed to helping entrepreneurs succeed.

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