As a participant
Many times in your international career you’ll be called to participate at events abroad (conferences, fairs, workshops,etc…) It is an effort (and expense) so better get prepared to get the most out of it.
As from my experience after 12 years working in the international scene, I may give you some advice. I will not develop about proceedings and taking notes, but more on the networking side. Anyway, take what better suits to your case! For instance:
- Book your travel well in advance, so the best (and cheapest) options are available. Tiring scales can be too burdensome when travelling for work
- Confirm attendance also well in advance. Organisers have to check logistics: food, translation, name tags… You don’t want to be the one that obliged them to change everything at the last minute, don’t you?
- Check (with organisers or online) the nearest hotels and transport facilities, so as to ensure you arrive on time.
Footnote: If your meeting is a job interview, don’t ask the organisers those details. It will make you look incompetent.
- For conferences and workshops, try to contact other participants for an informal meet-up or join the organised ice-breakers the day before. Even if you’re very tired, that will facilitate networking. If you don’t, the following day it will be harder to enter the conversation!
- Travel smart. Better use a cabin bag with everything you may need and a change. And dress well, even when travelling; you never know who you’ll meet in the airport! i.e. Holey socks are a big no no! (Imagine you’re wearing those in the controls and you cross a big boss!)
- Bookcross. If you’ve worked in your personal brand, surely you have written a book. Should it be the case, bring two copies. One for the organisers, and another should get lost in the venue. Check bookcrossing.com. You can use the bookcrossing tags as promotion for your website /services.
- Ask for the list of participants and check them in Linkedin. Prepare a note on the people you want to speak with, and be ready to offer them an interesting, selfless conversation! And don’t forget your business cards (ok, they are old, but yet very practical).
May you can share your own experience /advice?