Getting the Most Out of a Conference

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Getting the Most Out of a Conference


Maybe you aren’t the conference-loving type, or maybe you feel as though you’ve been to your fair share of conferences to last a lifetime. Either way, attendance of one is typically a requirement or expectation of most workplaces. If you’re taking time away from work and your normal routine, you may as well have a positive outlook on the opportunity and have a strategy in place so you don’t get overwhelmed. Here are some important ways to get the most out of your next conference.

Have a Plan

Just like any trip, part of the excitement is in the planning. With professional industry conferences, having goals of what you want to do, see and learn is going to be pivotal to their success. Review the conference agenda over and over again. This is the time to plan which break out sessions you would like to attend. Some conferences even have an app where you can view the agenda and schedule each session right from your phone. Make notes about what you hope to learn from each session and any questions you want to ask the presenters.

Is there free time in your schedule? Take a peek into the area you are staying and see if there is any time for you to do some quick sightseeing or any unique restaurants to try. The trip really is what you make of it!

Pack Strategically

Each conference has different expectations for dress, but we would recommend making sure you have a variety of business casual, business professional and comfortable clothes. You are going to be seen by important people in the industry, so it’s important to look the part for every occasion.

Network Before and During the Conference

Before: If your conference has an event app, be sure to get it. Often, meetups are planned through this app and they are a great way to meet others. From group exercise meetups to dinners after keynote speeches, this is a great way to start planning your itinerary. Additionally, a helpful tool to meet others is through professional social media sites like LinkedIn. Start researching the guest speakers and begin messaging industry influencers that you are looking forward to seeing them at the conference.

During: Now that you have prepared before the conference on who you would like to meet, it’s time to scout those individuals out. Be bold and introduce yourself to them, you can have some great conversations and build genuine relationships just by putting yourself out there. Be active about posting on social media accounts with the conference hashtag--you just may have people coming up to you to say hi after seeing you online.

Remember and Share What You Learn

It’s not enough to go to a conference as an item you check off of your yearly agenda. You should be taking notes at each session that not only benefit you, but might benefit your colleagues back home. It should be a standard practice to debrief staff on what you learned and what tactics you can start incorporating into your practice. There is always a lot going on when it comes to legislation and regulations. You will probably have learned information about both of these at the conferences in a way that is easy to understand. Be sure to pay it forward by educating others on what you have learned. Too often, when we do not use our education, we lose it.

We hope you are able to implement these tactics at your next conference! We hope to see you at the spring conference in May!