This might not be the ideal solution; however it is much better than not sending anyone at all. Your company will still gain valuable contacts and business expertise, both of which will be incredibly useful. Unfortunately, it does mean a bit more work for you.
If you want to get the most out of the conference you are sending people to, you will need to set up meetings before and afterwards, and perform a solid amount of supplementary work. This can be difficult, but the rewards if you do it well are more than worth it as it can give your business a real boost!
So, what should you bear in mind when sending employees off to a conference? Here are some of the most important things to remember:
Choose your team wisely
Whether you are sending a single employee or a whole team of good workers, the selection process is absolutely crucial. You need to make sure the right people are going along; otherwise you could end up losing out.
One thing to look for is a good set of social skills. Remember, networking forms a huge part of every conference, so you need to pick out employees who will make a good first impression on other attendees. They might be going to an after-party as well, so don't pick people with a reputation for drinking too much and making fools of themselves!
You will also need people who will be good at taking notes, absorbing information and relaying it back to your company in the form of helpful training sessions. You might not have a single employee with all of these characteristics, which is why many firms choose to send two or three people to each conference.
Brief and debrief them
Before the conference, you should meet with the team that will be attending to explain to them exactly what you are hoping to get out of the experience. If they have firm objectives in mind as they visit then they will be able to seek out the information you need, rather than getting a random range of the things they think are useful.
Similarly, you should debrief them afterwards. You need to work out what actions you can take following what they have learned from the conference, so get together and create a to-do list of training sessions, contact follow-ups and other procedures that need completing.
Keep on top of the follow-up
There is often a lot of work to do after a conference. While you might want to take on as much as possible, a lot of this has to be done by the people who attended. After all, if they have made a useful contact it will be unusual if you are the one who calls back!
However, you can still make sure this follow-up work is being done. Keep on track of who has been called back and what actions have been taken, so you can make sure nothing falls through the cracks!