Working a conference

Oct 08, 2018

We just finished our 19th annual Hot Firm + A/E Industry Awards Conference. It was in Dallas this year, and based on what we heard from attendees, was one of our best ever! We had a large crowd, the break-out sessions were packed, and with the exception of a few minor issues, the event went smoothly.

An event like this is a great networking opportunity for those who are there. It was interesting for me to watch the people and see who was really “working” the event and who was more interested in taking a three-day vacation and eating and drinking a lot. There definitely were both types of people there!

For those wanting to maximize the value of their participation in something like this, let me make some suggestions:

  1. Look over the attendee list and decide who you especially want to meet. Always a good idea. Intentionality works.
  2. Dress for the occasion. That means be appropriate. If everyone else at the event is “business casual,” you shouldn’t wear a suit – it could make someone else uncomfortable. The converse is true, also.
  3. Pack plenty of business cards. You don’t want to be at something like this and not have cards. And be sure they have your cellphone number on them as well.
  4. Put a smile on your face and be upbeat. People like positive people. They are more fun to be around and lift you up versus dragging you down. Be one of the positive people! It’s good for you and your business.
  5. Keep notes on everything. I use my phone. You do whatever you need to do but do it immediately and the quality of your notes will be much better.
  6. Follow up with everyone you meet immediately after the event. Send an email. Send a letter. Provide any info you promised you’d get them.

Everyone can do a better job at events and use their time more wisely. But it may take some thought and some training.

Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at

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About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.