We all attend professional conferences. Some are close-knit groups, such as the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference; others will have 10s of thousands in attendance, and take over a whole city (ACC Annual Meeting, CES, NRF’s Big Show).
Sometimes we will know no one attending, other times hundreds due to our level of involvement in the organization.
No matter how many people you know or don’t know, speaker or not, first time attendee or not, you need to prepare to maximize the time you will be there, and out of the office.
I start to prepare for a conference approximately two weeks or so before my departure. When I say I do these things, I really do them, and I coach others to do so as well for one reason: They work.