Posted on August 22, 2011

As a thought leader in the legal community, I am often asked to speak at conferences in the Bay Area and around the country. Last month, I was in Chicago speaking at Wealth Counsel’s Annual Conference. I believe there were close to a thousand estate planning attorneys at the conference. My topic was International Estate Planning (or estate planning for Non-Citizens and Non-Resident Aliens who own property in the United States).

Since most of us travel from time to time to attend classes, annual updates, and conferences; I thought I would give some suggestions on how to maximize your personal branding and connect with others at a conference.

In this post, I will talk about attending a conference composed mostly of your peers. Depending upon the nature of your practice, you may or may not get many referrals from this group. But there are still things you can do to enhance your reputation in your community that will have a positive impact on your practice.

Let’s start with things to do before the conference starts.

1. Have a Game Plan

What is your goal for attending the conference? The purpose is to make or deepen relationships with the people you meet at the conference. Pick a realistic goal for you. Is it 2 or 20?

2. Get a List of Attendees

If you can get a list of attendees before you travel to the conference you will be able to target the people you want to meet. If you can’t get this years list, get a copy of last years. Many of the same people will probably be in attendance. Worst case scenario: go over the list of attendees when you get to the conference, and target a few names at that point.

3. Set up Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Appointments with your Targeted Attendees

Call or email the people you would like to connect with and invite them to meet. Everyone has to eat, and most people will welcome an invite from another attendee to break bread. If you are nervous about meeting someone one-on-one, get a group together. Make the meal around further discussions of one of the topics presented at the conference. You can use any reason that your targeted attendees will find useful. They will want to meet with you to see what you know as well.

In future posts I will discuss some potential targets for your meetings. I will also provide a strategy for what to do during the conference and after as well.

If you have any great ideas on how to make our reader’s next conference a better marketing opportunity send me an email or fill out the Contact Us form with some comments we can include in future posts.