A significant period is on the horizon for those in the world of politics and policy: party conference season.
This annual tradition provides an opportunity to engage with key decision-makers, build valuable connections and shape policy in a face-to-face environment.
In this article, we explore how public affairs and government relations can effectively prepare.
- Build relationships
Party conferences are an excellent opportunity to establish and nurture relationships with politicians, advisers and stakeholders.
Rebekah Kendrick, Head of Government Affairs, and Sam Honey, Parliamentary Affairs Officer, at the Wine and Spirit Trade Association use the time before party conference to identify those MPs planning to attend, in order to “pinpoint who to target”.
“Often networking opportunities aren’t planned for but happen outside the formal events and dinners, so be flexible with your schedule. Conferences are the DAVOS of the political calendar and things can change rapidly so be aware of the nature of conference” according to Lisa Hayley-Jones, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the Advertising Association.
- Plan your schedule
Party conferences are packed with fringe events, which include panel discussions, workshops and various networking sessions. Rebekah Kendrick and Sam Honey suggest you carefully review the agendas for each conference and prioritise the events, and likely attendees, that align with your objectives.
- Follow up post-conference
After the conference, do not let your efforts go to waste. Follow up with those you have met, send thank you emails and provide additional information which might be valuable to them.
“After conference has finished, we have a team catch-up to discuss who’s spoken to who, track engagements and record conversations on PeoplePoint – DeHavilland’s stakeholder management tool”.
“We adopt a one-to-one approach, as we believe personalised comms delivers a better response”, says Rebekah Kendrick and Sam Honey.
- Receive content updates
Staying abreast of all the political developments that matter to you can be a difficult task. Our policy experts will be in attendance at conferences, covering the topics that matter to you throughout conference, ensuring that you never miss a beat. Stay tuned for updates on how to receive free content.
Need support with stakeholder engagement or planning for the party conferences?