How to prepare for Events like a real Entrepreneur

BY: Connectology Team

Summer holidays are finished, and event season is starting. Portugal is preparing for another grandious Web Summit. Let’s not forget other relevant international events, like Slush, Mobile World Congress, Pioneers, Global Entrepreneurship Network events, and thousand and thousands of others, smaller or bigger scale events, worldwide.

For the highlight of your participation not only to be a selfie on Facebook or a hashtag on Instagram, there is a few things you can do in advance to maximize your time and efforts.

1. Preparation is everything.International events are an excellent opportunity (but also a lot of work!) for prepared entrepreneurs to achieve several goals at the same time. Study the program and the speakers and attendees list carefully, and choose relevant sessions and individuals to approach. In the ideal case scenario, instead of chasing people you want to speak to, or hoping they will just appear out of the blue and have time for you, make some effort in finding their emails and contact them in advance to schedule meetings. Bigger events usually have an app to facilitate communication amongst attendees as well as managing your own schedule. Prepare your own program in the framework of the event according to your objectives.

*Attending international events can also be costly, especially if there is more than one team member attending. There are many international projects, related to European Commission and similar organisations, which support tickets and in some cases even travels costs.

2. Be pitching ready.Make sure you can talk about your project to talk as many people as you can and anyone, literally anyone. This requires practicing several versions of your pitch, from one sentence, to 15-minute presentation. You need to be able to talk about a problem, solution, business model, competition, market, execution plan, milestones, team and funding, at any time of the day and night and without reading from a paper. You also need to have a presentation and/or a pitch deck ready to be able to send to your potential partners, clients and investors.

3. Learn, learn, learn and LISTEN.Events can sometimes be overwhelming and at the end of the day you could feel exhausted as you will talk to dozens of different people, often repeating the same things. However, you need to be alert all the time and diligently collect relevant feedback in order to improve your business case. More than talking, it is important to listen and learn. The more you do that, you will be able to distinguish useful information and advice. Trial and error is the way to go, unless you are lucky enough to have excellent and experienced mentors with real and relevant track record. Be prepared to hear all kind of “advice”.

4. Magic of networking.After the official program, especially if the events last for several days, usually there are different groups or side events you can join. These are especially valuable moments, as people are more relaxed than during the conferences, and are more likely to connect and even introduce you to their peers.

5. Follow up.The event is over, what now? Hopefully you have met as many as people as possible and collected all the contacts you wanted. Wait for a few days your impressions to settle and get in touch with the contacts you consider most valuable.

Good luck!