For more than 20 years, the annual EdNET Conference has been one of the must-attend events of the year for companies serving the education market. Attendees gain insight on the latest trends and forecasts for the industry, critical updates on federal policies and the state of education funding, and powerful networking opportunities for establishing strategic partnerships. Over the many years that C. Blohm & Associates has attended EdNET, we’ve learned many tips and tricks that contribute to a productive and cost-effective conference experience.
After you’ve made the decision to attend, you’ll want to ensure that your professional or business development dollars are well invested. Here are some tips for having a successful EdNET experience.
- Fill your dance card, but leave room for a few new twists! Use the EdNET Networking Directory to find other attendees whose goals or interest areas match what you and your company have to offer. Connect with them now to set up meetings during the conference. While it’s tempting to pack your days with meetings, leave some time open for unexpected conversations.
- Answer the door, it’s opportunity knocking. Capitalize on the informal and scheduled networking opportunities available during the conference. The Business Networking Forum (followed by the Networking Reception) on Sunday gives you the chance to introduce yourself and your company to other attendees. Practice your 30-second speech beforehand to make sure you succinctly communicate your key messages and effectively position your company. Mingle with other vendors at the Business Opportunities Fair on Monday (stop by for some crazy puns and re-malt-able Whopper candy at table #23!). You can survey the lay of the education landscape, meet interesting new people, or strike up new business deals.
- Bring your thinking cap. EdNET offers a wealth of keynotes and sessions from industry experts and visionaries for you to glean market intelligence, learn new strategies to grow your business, and brainstorm new ideas. Our list of can’t-miss-this events includes the Monday keynote with Governor Bob Wise, the Tuesday keynote presented by Liz Strauss, and the View from the Catbird Seat on Tuesday with the venerable Anne Wujcik and Educational Publishing Hall of Famer Nelson Heller. The Birds-of-a-Feather Roundtables provide an opportunity to discuss timely issues and challenges while discovering best practices with industry peers. You can sign up now for the roundtable you’d like to participate in. (Lots of great discussion topics available such as “The EdTech Gap” led by Kevin Hogan, editorial director of Tech & Learning, and “Creatively Speaking…” with Linda Winter, president of the Winter Group, and of course, “Building Your Brand with Social Media” led by us!)
- Enjoy your surroundings. To recharge after long days of meetings and sessions, take some time to revel in the sights, sounds and flavors of Boston, this year’s location for the EdNET conference, with newfound acquaintances and industry colleagues.
- Reflect, renew, retool with social media. Connect with others attending EdNET before, during and after the show through online communities and networks. Follow @EdNETBiz for conference updates and market insight, and join the EdNET community on Facebook. You can also follow #EdNET10 to catch conversations and comments on sessions you may have missed. Participating in the conference-related social media conversations provides the opportunity to build relationships that extend beyond the three-day event. By sharing and listening with others, you can gain a new perspective and gather information needed for retooling your business to align to the needs of the evolving market.
- Input information, output practical ideas. Review what you learned at the conference and determine what can you replicate or adapt for your needs right away. If you can’t, think about that information’s relevance and how you may be able use it down the road. Share this insight with your co-workers if appropriate.
If you haven’t attended EdNET before, or in recent years, check out the “Making the Most of EdNET” session on Sunday afternoon with education industry maven Vicki Bigham and Educational Publishing Hall of Famer Nelson Heller.
Do you have other tips from your experiences at EdNET that you’d like to share? Funny, crazy or success stories about EdNET are also welcome – we love a good yarn!