Political Conferences are a great way to strengthen and develop your organisation and advocacy. These events give you an edge with the latest policy insights, reform discussions, industry information, help spark a new project idea, or even enable you to form relationships with others who share your vision.
Nexus has extensive experience in conference event planning and project management. Our team wants to make sure you get the most out of attending Conferences and engaging with people from the industry, public sector, and government alike.
This week, Nexus is introducing some of the key Conferences scheduled over the next few months and will provide a guide on how to get the most out of these events.
Political Conferences are a cornerstone of the engagement calendar, with MPs and Senators, particularly those within Ministerial or Shadow Ministerial responsibilities, from their parties attending and making themselves accessible to members of industry.
These Conferences typically involve two key aspects:
- Business Dialog: a ‘business exchange’ where MPs and Senators engage with industry, and
- Political Observers: the political conference itself, where representatives of the rank-and-file members of the party in question will meet, debate issues and ideas as well as also endorse policy positions for the upcoming year.
While the ‘business exchange’ is typically viewed by industry as more important thanks to the opportunities for more informal engagement, the policy position outcomes from a conference can be significant to understand as a party takes these ideas going forward.
Particularly for Conferences held this year, the policy positions taken by parties will be more significant with an election looming for later in 2021 or early 2022.
When attending any conference, it is crucial to come prepared. At every political conference, you attend, you must be representing your business or organisation and its overall aims.
It is essential to understand what your organisation’s main objectives when walking into a conference. Particularly for Political Conferences, this aim will shift depending on who you are talking to at any time, especially if your organisation is broad and engages with many different policy areas.
Based on each conference’s topic, you must have a specific goal in mind that serves to further your company’s needs. Keeping this goal at the back of your mind will keep you focused during the conference and committed to achieving this aim by the end of the event.
Being prepared and going into a political conference with a set plan will help you get the most out of the event.
As part of your preparation stage, it is vital to know the relevant portfolio minister and shadow ministers you should engage with during a conference.
Make the time to research these politicians, get to know which individuals are interested in the same industry areas that you are. Find out what issues your company could collaborate on with each minister.
It is also equally important to research the political staff of each Minister and Shadow Minister attending their respective Conferences. Ministers and Shadow Ministers alike have limited time, and you may not be able to talk to them for as long as you want during an event. Therefore, identifying and engaging with key staff members at any conference can be just as beneficial for your company.
Developing your company’s relationship with other like-minded people in the industry, government, and public sector is one of the main highlights of attending Political Conferences.
Most of these functions include allocated networking time. This opportunity to form contacts with others ensures the continuous advancement of your company well after the conference has finished.
Striking up a conversation with the person next to you before a presentation or discussing a speech over lunch may just let you leave the conference with at best, a friendly point of contact and at worst, a new acquaintance.
Do not forget to have your business cards on hand because you never know what kinds of people you meet at a conference might be critical to your organisation’s success in the future.
Conferences you may be interested in:
- The Nationals Conference and Corporate Observers Program (Canberra): 26 – 28 March 2021; https://www.ivvy.com.au/event/78CDY4/program-and-functions.html
- Labor’s Special National Platform Conference (online): 30 – 31 March 2021; https://alp.org.au/conference2021
- Liberal Party Federal Council and Business Program: 28 – 29 May 2021; TBC
- BioPharmaDispatch Conference (Sydney): 17 May 2021; https://www.bpdconference.com/
- Pharmaceutical Society of Australia National Conference (Sydney): 30 July – 1 August 2021; https://www.psa21.com.au/
- Chief of Army Symposium (Brisbane): 19 – 20 April 2021; https://www.australiandefence.com.au/yafevent/chief-of-army-symposium#:~:text=19%20Apr%20%2D%2020%20Apr%2C%202021&text=In%202021%2C%20the%20Chief%20of,the%20period%2019%2D20%20April.
- Land Forces 2021 (Brisbane): 1 – 3 June 2021; https://www.landforces.com.au/
- DefenceWatch – Meet the Chiefs Events (Canberra): various dates throughout the year; https://www.defencewatch.com.au/upcoming-events.html
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