Conference Protocol & Etiquette – What’s appropriate and what’s not.
Professional and Social Conferences are very important strategies in the life of a reputable business person. Thus understanding etiquette and exercising protocol during these meetings is a crucial skill and ability that you should possess.
Below are a few tips on what is appropriate and how to maximize the conference opportunity.
- When you enter the room speak and shake hands. Your handshake needs to be firm and steady to transmit confidence and strength.
- Be able to express what it is you do and or who you are in less than a minute. Have an elevator speech that will yield profitable results and pleasant conversations.
- SMILE! You need to be serious and professional, however at the same time you have to be pleasant and approachable. Make sure your body language communicates the message you and your company want to send.
- Bring ample business cards. Your purpose should be to meet and hopefully bring back business to your company. Do not run out midway through the conference, meeting, or networking session.
- Be prepared. Study the collateral’s prior to attending to the conference. Do your homework and figure out whom you would like to meet and see over the next few days. Scan through the welcome packet and highlight any names of people you’d like to see.
- Choose workshops for the information you want to receive. However also consider the people you want to meet and network with when choosing. You may have to make a decision on which is more important because it may not be the same workshop for both goals.
- Network with other attendees before you get there. If you think clients or associates will also be attending, send a note card in advance. It will be a great gesture on your behalf whether they are attending or not.
- Do not over indulge. On anything. Leave the conference with your image enhanced not as the conference joke.
- Move around. When you meet someone, introduce yourself and exchange business cards. Have small talk and set-up another time to meet, or a time for a call when you return to the office. Shake hands as you leave, thank them and then move on to the next person.
- Come to the session prepared with notebook paper and pens. If you forgot to bring some, you may be able to find a notepad in your hotel room or at the front desk, but better to be prepared ahead of time.
- Do not take up two or three seats. Move right on in and meet someone new, sitting next to you. Introduce yourself. Enjoy their company before the speaker begins. Or better yet, arrive early to sit in the front and learn as much as you can.
- This is a time to learn. If you’re with a chatty attendee, politely tell them that you would love to talk after the session. Be polite, sincere, and firm. Tell them right at the beginning of the conversation. If you wait too long to say something, you can get hooked into the conversation, and it will be more uncomfortable to get out.
- Respect the speaker. As a speaker, it can be frustrating to be on a stage in front of a group and realize attendees are chatting among themselves. If you must have a conversation or make a phone call, please leave the room out of respect.
- Wear your name badge. Instead of using a lanyard, which makes the badge nearly impossible to read, pin it on your clothing. The right side is preferable for it is easier to read when you shake hands.
- At meals remember the basics and introduce yourself to everyone at the table. Do not reach over the table to shake hands. Meet everyone before you sit down. Do not eat until everyone at your table is served. If you are waiting for a special meal, let everyone know it’s OK to start eating because your meal will be late.
- Do not be the one posting and tagging unwanted pictures on your social media. You need to ask permission or better yet, what goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas.
These are many more the protocol and etiquette basics that will allow you to have a comfortable, fun and productive time at your next industry, business or social conference. If you want to maximize the experience, call us for the Protocol International customized conference briefing. Our affordable priced programs will provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your conference and stay one step ahead of competitors