How To Get Most Out of the Conference: Consensus 2024 Edition

Cnsensus 2024 logo

Next month the IronWeave team will be attending Consensus 2024 in Austin, Texas. If you’re also attending, we’d love to connect.

Attending business events is routine. But most of us don’t think about how to events. We pay the conference fee. We book a flight, reserve a hotel room and bang! We think we’re good to go.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Let us show you how to get your dollar's worth.

Like any other business initiative events have a cost in employee time, travel expenses, and equally important, opportunity costs. That is, what value could you and the team have created instead of going to the event or conference. 

It’s a great exercise to reflect on how to squeeze every last drop of juice from attending an event.

Five Phases to Effective Event Participation

  • Prep work
  • Networking Strategies
  • Execute on the plan during the event 
  • Maximize Visibility
  • Follow up post event


Research the event: Understand the event schedule, key speakers, and attendees.

Set clear objectives: Define what you aim to achieve from the event - whether it's networking, fundraising, or hiring.

Prepare your pitch: Craft a concise and compelling pitch that clearly explains your company's value proposition and goals. Rehearse it on friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. Ask for feedback. Do you sound excited and convincing? Record it with your phone’s voice memo. Do you vary the cadence or is it monotonous? What are you doing with your hands? A few small gestures can make for a compelling, confident pitch. (don’t go crazy here)

Identify target individuals: Make a spreadsheet of potential investors, partners, advisors, and job candidates you want to connect with at the event. Be sure you have contact info. Plan a follow up strategy that includes the goals of any follow up and how to send regular progress updates.

Then, once you know what you want to do, create a  schedule that prioritizes those aims. Stay loose and open to opportunity. If you’re having a great conversation with someone you might want to be late to a session that’s about to start. Don’t be rigid.

Networking Strategies

Use event apps: Many events offer networking apps where you can connect with attendees beforehand. Consensus 2024 App

Attend relevant sessions: Choose sessions relevant to your industry or interests where you're likely to meet like-minded individuals. Remember to consider relevant side events for targeted networking.

Initiate conversations: Don't be afraid to approach people and start conversations. Have your elevator pitch ready. Starting conversations feels awkward for many people. But with practice, you’ll discover that people appreciate sharing what they are working on and are flattered when you ask their opinion on topics they care about. Here are a few icebreakers to try. (use those that feel most natural for you)

"What brings you to this event?"

"Have you attended any interesting sessions so far?"

"What are you hoping to get out of this event?"

Be a good listener: Listen actively to others' interests and needs. This can help you tailor your pitch and identify potential synergies. Make eye contact and leave your phone in your pocket.

Exchange contact information: Don't forget to exchange business cards or connect on LinkedIn to stay in touch after the event.

Maximizing Your Visibility

Host a booth or demo: If feasible, consider setting up a booth or demo to showcase your company's products or services. Naturally, cost is a consideration.

Participate in panel discussions: Engage in panel discussions or workshops to establish thought leadership in your field. This could be a separate post on how to get on panels at the better conferences. This takes time and effort but can also pay terrific dividends.

Sponsorship opportunities: Explore sponsorship options to increase your company's visibility and reach a wider audience. Again, this can be costly and that expense needs to be justified.

Follow-Up Strategy

Prioritize follow-ups: After the event, follow up with individuals you've met promptly. When relevant, ask their permission to be added to your list of people to update on your company’s progress.Personalize your messages to reinforce the connection. Remind them where you met and what you talked about. (that’s where keeping good notes on each interaction comes into play)

Schedule meetings: Arrange follow-up meetings with potential investors, partners, or advisors to discuss collaboration opportunities further. Move towards the goal, an investment, partnership, new hire, or new advisor.

Keep in touch: Maintain regular communication with your contacts to nurture relationships and keep them updated on your company's progress. Add them to a scheduled update. Have a process to make this happen.

Reflect and Iterate

Evaluate your performance: Reflect on what worked well and what could be improved for future events. Former Mayor Ed Koch was known to walk around the city and always ask, “How am I doing?”. People laughed at him but he was onto something.

Gather feedback: Reach out to the individuals you met and ask for feedback on your pitch or presentation. Ask them to be brutally honest. Do they even remember your pitch?

Adjust your strategy: Use the feedback to refine your networking strategy for future events and optimize your chances of success.

If you are also planning to be at Consensus 2024, we’d love to meet you.. Reach out here.