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How to Look Your Best at a Business Conference

look best at conference

Whether they admit it or not, people judge others based on the clothes they wear. The way you groom yourself and the clothes you wear affect other people’s’ perception of you. This is especially true at an event where you’ll be meeting a lot of professionals face to face for the first time. As they say, “You only get once chance to make a first impression!”

When you pay more attention to your wardrobe, people are more likely take you seriously and are more willing to listen to you. So if your aim is to impress people at business events, make sure you put some effort into your style and appearance.

In this blog post, we’ll give you some guidelines on what to wear at a business conference. Follow these tips and dress to impress at your next business conference.

Look the part

Smaller business conferences are typically business casual. For men, khaki pants and a long-sleeved button down shirt are a good choice. For women, a knee-length skirt or casual pants may be worn. You can pair it with a silk, knit or cotton blouse. Solid, neutral colors are always in style. Choose a top that flatters your figure without being too revealing. Think of the “classic” look, and you’ll be in good shape.

International conferences, on the other hand, tend to be more conservative. In this case, a tailored suit is a safe bet. For women, a tailored dress or skirt with blouse and a blazer is recommended.

No matter what you decide to wear, you clothes should look good, be comfortable and make you feel confident.

Keep hair smooth and simple

Although it’s okay for women to wear your hair down, make sure to keep your hair off of your face. Not only will you have to constantly push your hair back, it will be too distracting to the person you’re speaking to. A low pony tail is an easy, comfortable way to maintain a neat look throughout the day. For men, just keep your hair well trimmed.

Wear comfortable shoes

If you’re not used to wearing high heels, don’t force it. Opt for a low-heeled, closed toe shoes instead. The more comfortable you are, the more confident you feel.

Men can opt for a casual loafer or a lace up style shoe. Black or brown leather are ideal, just make sure your shoes are polished and in good condition and match your belt.

look best at conference

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5 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Conference

get most out of a business conference

There is no better place to increase your awareness of new trends in your field than an industry conference.  Some people use industry conferences as an opportunity to expand their existing network.  These new connections can turbocharge your career and the presentations and seminars can teach you things you can’t pick up elsewhere.

But with so many speakers to hear and so many panels to attend, conferences may seem a little overwhelming.  This sentiment rings especially true for those who are new to the professional conference scene.

If that describes you, here are 5 ways to get the most out of a conference.

get most out of a business conference

  1. Have a goal
    What are you hoping to learn from this conference?  Determine what you hope to gain from the conference before you get there.  Going to a conference without any goals can be a waste of time and money.  Your goals don’t have to be very specific.  They can be as simple as meeting new people, gaining awareness about a particular topic, or to better yourself and bring new knowledge back to your team.  If there is a particular person you’d like to meet, carve out time to accomplish that goal.  If that person is a speaker or a presenter, send an email prior to the event and introduce yourself.  Let the person know that you’re coming to his/her session and that you’re eager to meet them.  Whenever possible, let them know how you can help them; they may be more inclined to spend some extra time talking with you!
  2. Find out who the speakers are
    Before you make the decision to go, we recommend that you determine who the speakers are.  Then, do some research on Youtube or Google and watch their videos online.  By doing so, you’ll get a sense for their style and substance.  Plus, it will give you an idea how much value they’ll bring to their upcoming presentations.  This is also a great opportunity to think of questions you may want to ask during or after their presentation.
  3. Register early
    We get it.  You decided to attend the conference to gain new ideas or insights about your industry.  However, the most interesting moments often occur in between or after the sessions themselves.  The conversations and interactions you have with the other attendees are often the most memorable and valuable you will have at a conference. On the day of the conference, make sure you register early.  This allows you to maximize your time meeting new people before the sessions begin.
  4. Take notes
    With days full of speakers and sessions, it can be difficult to remember everything you have learned during the conference.  To help you remember what you have learned, we recommend that you take down notes.  Also, don’t forget to write down 3 key takeaways at the end of each session.
  5. Follow up
    Make sure you follow up with everyone you met after the event.  Reach out to them. Email is a completely reasonable way to follow up with someone.  Don’t wait too long, either: you’ll want to make sure they still remember you while the event is still fresh in their mind! It’s important to keep those contacts handy, even if you don’t work together immediately.
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Tips to Increase Attendee Engagement at Your Events

attendee-engagement-at-your-events

After spending countless hours planning an event, there is nothing more satisfying than witnessing its success. In a perfect world, every attendee would connect with other attendees and participate in activities.

There is an endless amount of proactive, easy-to-implement steps you can take to increase attendee engagement at your events. Here are some of them.

Build anticipation

Attendee engagement doesn’t necessarily start at the event itself. In fact, you should engage your audience before they even step foot in your venue. This will not only guarantee more attendees, but people will be more excited to attend.

Social media is one of the best avenues to promote your event. Create a unique hashtag and use it every time you post an update about your event. With the right strategy, you’ll have people talking about your event and your engagement will skyrocket. Publishing a blog post is also a great way to create pre-event buzz or stream a video from last year’s event.

Games

Games are a great way to entertain and energize attendees who are bored and drained from listening to lectures and presentations. With the right execution and an interesting prize, you’ll get people to interact and participate in activities.

Make time for networking

A lot of people tend to feel overwhelmed or intimidated when attending a large event, especially when they don’t know anyone. Encourage your guests to meet someone new and network by dividing them into smaller groups. This can help break the initial awkwardness that tends to happen at large gatherings.

It is also a good idea to have breaks between speakers or a cocktail hour after the event to give people an opportunity to network and engage with one another.

Allow for Q&A opportunities

Provide attendees an opportunity to address their questions. You can gather questions from attendees and have the speaker answer these questions at the end of the presentation. Attendees will be able to learn more from the Q&A session. Plus, they’ll feel more appreciated and part of the event.

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Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Chicago Event

mistakestoavoid-chicago-event

When preparing for an event, your ultimate goal is for the event to go off without a hitch and for the event to be wildly successful. But no matter how meticulously you have planned for your event, some things can still go wrong. Missteps could lead to a drained budget, alienated speakers, and annoyed audiences.

While some hiccups are to be expected in such events, learning from others’ mistakes can help prevent mishaps that may materialize later on.

Here are 4 mistakes to avoid when planning your corporate event in Chicago, along with some suggestions on how to mitigate them.

Waiting too long to start with the planning process

6 months may seem like a long way off. But with so many things you need to do, you’ll be surprised how quickly days pass by, and weeks turn into months in the blink of an eye.

The planning process should begin as soon as you get word out about the event. If you wait until the last minute, you may have a hard time finding a good venue, hiring vendors, and getting the word out about your event. The sooner you get organized, the better off you’re going to be. Especially if you want to hire a Chicago corporate event photographer, you will need to schedule in advance. 

Trying to do everything on your own

Planning an event is no easy task. No matter how small your event may be or how good of a planner you are, you can’t do everything on your own. If you do, you are likely to end up stressed, exhausted, and frustrated. Your event may also suffer.

Coordinating with multiple vendors and important event details is enough to keep you occupied. Learn to delegate. Let your team handle other aspects of the event such as promotions, registration, financial planning, and scheduling. Make sure every little detail of the event gets covered.

Not having a contingency plan

There will be some unexpected changes during the event, so make sure that you have a back-up plan. Anticipate the unexpected so you can ensure everything runs easily, amid the sudden changes.

Underestimating the size of the event

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all venue. Make sure you have a rough estimate of how many people are going to the event before booking a venue. Otherwise, you may end up having a spacious venue for too few guests or a small space for too many guests.

If you need someone to photograph or film your Chicago event, please contact me for your corporate event photography needs.

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Reasons Why You Need a Professional Headshot

reasons-you-need-headshot

In today’s digital world, including a profile photo has become ubiquitous as email addresses. If you are a business owner or a company executive, you have probably been asked to provide a professional headshot. You might be wondering why you need one when you can just use a photo that was taken during a wedding, a formal event, or your last vacation.

Here are 3 reasons why you need a professional headshot.

Make a good impression

Most people who are interested in your business will look you up online to see what you do and who you are. Not only are they interested in what your business has to offer, they are also curious to know who the person behind that business is.

Since many of us conduct our initial interaction online, you want to make sure that you make a good digital first impression. An amateur profile picture might not look as bad on your social media account, but for potential customers and clients it may appear “unprofessional”. Think of your profile as your storefront: if it isn’t enticing, no one will walk through the front door.

Personal branding

You probably spend a lot of time and money on your website, branding, and marketing campaign. Why not focus some of that effort towards improving your personal brand?

You want your photos to be current. Clothing, hairstyles, and photography styles change over time. Most importantly, you want people to recognize you when they meet you in person. Make sure that you update your photo every 3 to 5 years.

Represent your business

You, as the business owner, are the face of your business. The photo you chose to represent you defines your brand and your business. For most people, knowing the person running the business is important towards establishing a long term relationship.

Need an example? Pretend you’re looking for a supplier online and come across 3 companies. You researched to find more information about these companies. While navigating through their site, you found a picture of the CEO. It was a casual picture of him, which was probably taken using the camera on his phone. Would you readily strike up a relationship with this company or would you instead move on to the other two?

If you’re looking for a corporate headshot photographer, please contact G. Thomas Ward Photography. You can also view my galleries to see samples of my work.

About

My years of experience include shooting for a wide variety of clients both corporate and personal, including Cartier, WTTW, The Chicago Reader, Northwestern University, Hartmarx, Music of the Baroque, Red Moon Theater, Theo Ubique, Third Coast Marketing and many, many more.

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