MedStartr SchoolBy Jigar Mehta and Alex Fair

We know it seems like an easy day when you go to a conference or event, but it should not be for entrepreneurs.  It isn’t all pretty faces and glad handing, there is some serious work to be done.  To help our MedStartrs as part of our ongoing MedStartr School series, we have prepared a short set of suggestions for all our friends and MedStartrs.

Conference prep 101

One of the key components of being a Medstartr (an entrepreneur on medstartr) is that you get invited to present at or attend a variety of meetups, conferences and events.  If you don’t, you can go to Meetup.com and search for Meetup groups like Alex’s Health 2.0 NYC and pitch to relevant audiences every day of the week if you wish.  

But when you go, it is work, do not mistake it for just fun.  Don’t get me wrong, it is fun, but you need to stay focused on the goal, promoting your idea, pitching, and finding your community of supporters, customers, and investors.  We have assembled a best practices list and divided them into three phases: before, during and after the event.  We are posting Phase I today and look forward to your comments.

Phase 1: Before the meeting

It is crucial to prepare for every meeting you plan to attend. “Winging it” does work sometimes but it is not the best way to maximize the value of your time that you will spend at the meeting. Here are some pointers that you should follow during your prep for a meeting / event.

1) If you are presenting: make sure the presentation is up to date and tailored to the audience – not more than 10 slides. Use the KISS analogy – Keep It Short and Simple.

2) If you are attending and not presenting – try and read up on the attendees. If you can identify people who you know then use the meeting as a way to reconnect. If you see people who you believe will be great connections try and setup something after the meeting like a quick drink/dinner.  btw / if you come across an entrepreneur that you believe is a potential Medstartr do let us know at support@medstartr.com

3) Develop a pitch deck: Each event you attend requires you pitching your startup from an angle that is receptive to the audience.  Prior to each meeting refer to this pitch deck and formulate a new one or use an existing one.

4) Being Social is a Team Sport: No one wants to be the lonely guy at the bar and while you won’t spend much time together at the event, it is always good to have a base of operations, especially if you are having fun with your friends.  Be careful though, the point is to meet new people so pick people that are at least as outgoing as you intend to be

5)  Know your stuff:  Both about the event as well as the topics in general.  This leads to better conversations.  Try and get a feel for the event or talks you intend to attend. One approach is to pre-write a blog post with appropriate background research. Be prepared to take some notes, quotes, photos, short videos, and post them via twitter, facebook and instgram so you can pull all that content in the next day too when you finish your post. Also make sure all your social media accounts are loaded on your phone and that it has space to record video, audio and photos.

6) Make it a Tweetup: Not every event is designed as a tweetup, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be.  Find the hashtag associated with the event ex: #MedStartr or #SXSW and make a note of it.  Tweet up that you are going and who you look forward to seeing via twitter.  Make sure you tell everyone to come as well. 

SoMe Secret Tip: If you add the Healthcare Crowdfunding #HCCF or the event’s hashtag to your tweets they will be picked up and retweeted, republished all over the place, and generally paid more attention to.

7) Business Cards: Do not forget these and make sure you have plenty. Well this depends on your discretion; you can give out cards to only select people and they rest you can follow on twitter etc. We would recommend giving out a business card with almost every handshake that you have.

I also came across this fun infographic describing business motivations and social behaviors for in-person and online events, to give it a browse and let us know your thoughts on this and that.

How People Behave at Conferences