How to Get the Most from a Construction Conference

There are dozens of construction industry trade conferences across the country each year. If you want to know the latest trends and insight into the newest best practices, you might want to attend one on occasion. Travel for work isn’t cheap when you run your own business, so you want to choose wisely and come prepared. Here’s what to expect from a conference, and how you can get the most out of it.

Research the Best Options
With many construction-related conferences each year, you should be able to find one that works well with your timing and goals. Fortunately, many of them are held in California or in nearby cities like Las Vegas. The right one for you depends on your field, your interests and your funds for travel. Keep in mind that the best choice may not be located within easy driving distance. Several conferences aim to provide a variety of choices to suit almost any construction professional. There are also specialties targeting attendees who work in areas like modular construction or concrete.

Find Out Who’s Presenting
Some conferences mostly feature an exhibit floor that you can browse at your convenience, but many also offer presentations, demonstrations or classes. Since conferences often have limited opportunities to talk to people presenting, do a little homework in advance. Find out which of the major industry influencers will be there. If you can, research what they have been working on and get ideas for questions you’d like to ask in a question and answer session. Bring these notes to the conference. This will help you retain more information from the sessions.

Be Flexible About Scheduling
Depending on the conference, you may have a lot of flexibility in the sessions that you attend. There’s little point in occupying space in a presentation that doesn’t fit your field or give you new information, even if the company presenting is important or well-known. It’s important to get a vibe for conference etiquette, so that you’re not disrupting others. Just keep in mind it’s not uncommon to slip out at the beginning of a speech when you realize it’s not for you. If you’re not sure, it’s best to sit or stand near the back so you can make a discreet exit when necessary.

Save Time for Browsing Exhibits
In this industry, there’s a lot of innovation with new tools and approaches you can try. The exhibit floor is going to be the place to go when you want to take a crack at something you’ve never tried. Conferences, like World of Concrete in Las Vegas, may have as many as 1,500 exhibitors. Depending on the schedule, you might only have a few hours between sessions each day. Make sure to dedicate extra time to browse, and get a list of vendors in advance. That way, you’ll know which ones you definitely want to see first.

Prepare to Network
Whether you’re headed to a conference near you or one that requires a plane flight, networking is still an important idea. Networking is how you build relationships with other construction industry professionals that will help you keep your business going. Don’t skip the social lunches or coffee breaks, especially if they mean you get an opportunity to talk to other people who live in your area. Track down presenters on the exhibit floor and make sure they get your business card. This may be your best chance to get your name out there, find subcontractors and learn more about the latest news in the industry.

Once you get your contractor license, you need to keep building knowledge and connections. Passing the exam is one of the first steps. To establish a construction career that can thrive for decades, visit CSLS today!

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