It’s that time of the year again! Xerocon Melbourne, the world's most innovative conference for accounting leaders, is just around the corner! We know how intimidating and stressful conferences can be, so here are some of practical tips on getting the most out of Xerocon.
**Featuring tips by Heidi Seal from Living Business and Steph Hinds from Growthwise**
01 – Get plenty of sleep beforehand!
Xerocon is big. You have sessions you can attend, networking with peers and the add-on partners to see, not to mention the after hours drinks and more networking. It's a lot to cram into two days. If you’re travelling from another city (or country!) try and pack early, not the night before your 5:30AM flight!
02 – Take the team.
If your business is more than just you behind the desk, make sure you take at least some of the team with you too. This will not only make them feel more involved, but it's impossible to attend every session and talk to ALL of the add-on partners. So divide and conquer.
03 – Get social.
Tell everyone you are coming to Xerocon! Join the relevant Xero Facebook groups, and use the right hashtags to stay involved in the conversation on Twitter (#Xerocon). We’re surprised by how many businesses still aren’t on Twitter! If you want to stay involved with what’s going-on during the conference, it’s THE place to be.
04 – Plan your schedule.
Everyone attends Xerocon for the same reasons, and it's exciting to walk into a room of people who love to talk about numbers and accounts and how to do business better. During the conference, you're going to feel as if you're being pulled in a hundred different directions.
Make sure you review the schedule beforehand and know the add-on partners you really want to talk to in-depth before you go. Then make these partners your 1st stop. If you don't get to talk to everyone make sure you grab a card and follow up after the conference.
Download the free Xerocon App from the app store. It will hold all the vital information for Xerocon Melbourne including: program details, maps, exhibitor listings, speakers, delegate networking and answers to all the questions attendees have!
If there is someone you want to ask a question of or introduce yourself to, make sure you give him or her the heads-up beforehand. Check the schedule and indulge in a little harmless stalking prior to the event – with Twitter and Linkedin it's much easier to reach out, set up meetings and coordinate your networking plans!
Tip: Make sure your profile picture is up-to-date so people will recognise you in real life!
05 – Get Xero Account Managers to introduce you.
Talk to your account manager to see if there is anyone they recommend you meeting up with. Tell them about the goals you are trying to achieve. The account managers have a great knowledge of the bookkeepers and accountants in your region and will know who might make a great partnership for your business. Getting them to make the introduction can help break the ice and set things in motion!
06 – Be ready to pitch.
Know your elevator pitch by heart and have a good stash of business cards (and potentially other business collateral) on hand. You need to be able to articulate the core services you deliver and leave people with a clear idea of how you can help them and their clients.
07 – Don't miss the after-party or any other networking events.
It's not often you get the chance to mingle with some of the brightest minds in the accounting profession as well as the entire Xero team. But it’s easy to overlook some of the additional events in the schedule like the Xerocon Block Party – your brain is frazzled, you’re tired...we get it! But try to take full advantage of your time at the conference by filling up your two days with as much as you can! You never know what amazing opportunities might open up.
08 – Use technology to your advantage.
Don’t try to frantically scribble notes for every single thing you hear. Try these tips instead:
- Use Evernote to take notes and pictures during the presentations. Quick simple keywords are all you need. Try and use a simple code or shorthand - for example, “L” / “F” for follow up.
- Feeling forgetful? Check out Namerick. Using repetition and mnemonics, Namerick will help you keep track of people’s names!
- Capture expenses on the go with Expensify or Squirrel street. Instead of digging through and trying to sort out a pile of receipts afterwards, these apps will help you stay organised instantly, and ultimately save you time when you’re back in the office!
- Cheat! So many people put great information on social media platforms such as Twitter now that you don't even really need to take notes! Try setting up Zap's for conferences to send any tweets with the hashtag or keywords to a Google spreadsheet so you can review at your leisure.
09 – Schedule de-brief time when you get back to the office.
After the conference is over, people often slip right back into their work routines and forget to schedule time to go over their action lists, follow up with people they met and give the team an update. This is by far THE most important part of going to conferences. If you're attending the conference on behalf of your company, show them the ROI!
10 – Share what you’ve learned.
Updating the rest of your team is one thing, but you’ll want to make sure your clients are across your learnings too. Publicly sharing your Xerocon experience will also position you as a progressive practice! Talk to your clients about how your learnings will apply to them, make sure you’re available to answer questions and write a blog post about your thoughts – this will build your credibility too!
Xerocon South starts on the 13th of September. Come along to the WorkflowMax stand and find out how we can help your client togethers! Are there any tips we’ve forgotten to include on surviving and thriving at Xerocon? Let us know!