You’ve registered for IFT19, what's next? Here are some helpful tips to help you make sure you get the most out of your IFT Annual Event and Food Expo experience.
Maximize Your IFT19 Value
- Check your people list. Remember that list of presenters and other people you included in your business case? Now is the time to review and augment that list. Don't be shy about approaching presenters and other food industry experts. They’re more accessible than you might think, and many of them are at the event to expand their own professional connections.
- Review your education options. A few weeks prior to the event, go through the online session planner (available on iftevent.org in April). Finalize which education sessions are of interest and benefit to you.
- Make some people connections. One or two weeks before the event, go through your people list and consider reaching out to some of them in advance to set up a meeting time/place. You can use the “Attendees” feature in the free IFT19 mobile app, or if you already have their contact information, reach out to them directly.
- Build your onsite agenda. One week prior to the event, build your personal agenda. You can use the online session planner, or you can use the “My Schedule” feature in the IFT19 mobile app. Be sure to include the sessions you’ll be attending, as well as any meetings you’ve set up in advance with other attendees. Also, don’t forget to include great networking opportunities such as the Welcome Reception, the Division Networking Reception, Career Center Live Networking Event, and more.
During the event...
- Use your personal agenda as a roadmap.
- Take notes during the education sessions, during your visit to the expo, and while at your personal meetings.
- Reserve “open space” in your schedule to network and collaborate with other conference participants. Take advantage of both formal (such as the Welcome Reception) and informal (such as common areas of the event) to meet new people. Remember, the meaningful connections you build at the event can be every bit as valuable as the formal programming.
After the Event…
- Capture the important details. While it’s still fresh in your mind (perhaps on the ride home), write a concise 1-2 page summary of what happened at the event and how you will use the information to further the initiatives of your organization. Use your onsite agenda and conference notes to help you.
- Close the support loop. Submit your summary to the person who sponsored your attendance, thanking him or her for the opportunity. The purpose of this summary is to ensure your next event approval request even easier than this one. Once your organization understands that you mean business when you attend an event like IFT19, they'll be more likely to quickly approve your participation in future events.
- Share the insights. If the knowledge you gained might also be useful to others in your organization, consider rewriting portions of your summary as a blog or sharing it with others through your organization’s internal communication channels. Or better yet, share it on LinkedIn. A great way to position yourself as a thought leader and someone who is keeping themselves up-to-date on what’s happening in the food industry. Sharing useful information with colleagues and peers is another great way to build support for future event requests and position yourself as a go to person.
- Follow Up with Your Contacts. Be sure to send a quick email to those you met at the event. Also, be sure to connect with them on LinkedIn.