Getting the most from attending the National Biodiesel Conference

By The National Biodiesel Board | January 12, 2012

National Biodiesel Board staff members attend many events every year representing the biodiesel industry and they work with lots of conference organizers as presenters, expo hall exhibitors and attendees. Some of the best advice gathered through all of this involvement is for conference attendees to take a little time before they head for the airport to prepare so that they can get the most out of their conference attendance.

Here are some tips to think about in advance of your attendance at the 2012 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Orlando, Fla.

Identify your goals and establish a plan. Why are you attending the conference? What do you hope to gain? Who do you want to meet while you are there? Be sure to set some time aside, ahead of time, to think through what you hope to gain by attending.

Plan your agenda and know what to expect from sessions. Check out to see session schedules, descriptions, speakers and exhibitors. Decide what you want to learn about and even make a simple outline of sessions you want to attend, meetings you may have, and activities that you don’t want to miss. You don’t want to get caught standing at the morning coffee break trying to decide what session to go to and miss out on networking time.

Network, Network, Network. Whether you are walking out of a session, at a reception, or simply making the rounds in the trade show, don’t be afraid to leave your cell phone in your pocket. We all have the impulse to pull out our phone and scan emails and browse the Web often, but for most, it can wait. Take advantage of the opportunity of having some of the best and brightest in the biodiesel industry at your fingertips. And you never know; your next customer, product supplier, or employee may be standing right next to you.

Bring lots of business cards. Everyone you meet during the three-day conference should go home with your business card. Attendees will likely remember a conversation they had with someone but they may meet hundreds of other people in three days and not remember your name or company. When you collect business cards, make a note on the back of the card to help you remember the person once you get back to the office.

Stay the entire time. Plan your travel accordingly to be there for the entire conference. While some scheduling conflicts can’t be avoided, you never know what opportunities might be missed by arriving late or leaving early. Your time and travel aren’t cheap so use your time wisely and make it worth your trip.

Pack comfortable shoes. This one may seem obvious, but you will likely be spending much more time on your feet in a day than normal. Be prepared for the long hours by keeping your feet comfortable.


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