23 Oct Top ten tips – How to be a “Conference Commando”!
Have you ever attended a conference and traveled back home thinking “I wish I would have…” or maybe even “I wish I wouldn’t have….”? Conference attendance is much more than an investment of money, but also an investment of precious time. Why not use this time away from the office and family to get a better return on your investment? In no special order, these are some tips to help you and/or your staff prepare for the ultimate conference experience.
- If you are attending with a co-worker or friend, divide and conquer. You will be able to cover much more ground and meet more people.
- Be sure to review the agenda thoroughly before registering. You may want to take advantage of that Early Bird special, but if the agenda isn’t available contact the host, or wait until it is posted. The savings aren’t worth it if the program is not of value to you and your business.
- Sit down a couple of days before and create your schedules.
- Plan time to touch base throughout the day or debrief at dinner.
- Your colleague may have attended a great session that may be offered again. This way you can adjust your schedule as needed and take advantage of what’s most valuable.
- The little things – A bag; bottle of water; small snack; phone charger; pen and paper. A good meeting will have a bag, paper and pen for attendees, however if they don’t at least you are prepared. A snack and water will keep your energy level up and you thinking clearly throughout the day. Keep your phone charged but silenced to keep in touch with the office, clients and family.
- Leave a copy of your schedule with someone back at the office so they know when you have breaks versus interrupting your sessions, with calls that can wait.
- Dress for the occasion – Check the dress guidelines for the events, from sessions to networking and social activities. Wear comfortable shoes! Always err on the side of dressing up versus down. You may meet your next new future client or even boss.
- Take business cards and collect them. If you meet someone write a fact on their card, so that you can remember your connection. For Example, Green dress, or an action item like “Send them article about …”.
- Bring cash for hotel, taxi, or bar tips. Many events offer a cash bar at networking events in the evenings.
- Get the contact information for speakers that really interest you. You may think of a question after the fact and can send them a quick note, or even let them know how much you enjoyed their session.
- Sponsors – Show them some love! They think it’s worthwhile to bring you quality programs, don’t be afraid to stop by their booths. Eye contact is appreciated.
- Take good notes, make a list of action items, and be sure to debrief with your team back at home. Delegate any follow-up tasks. Pull out those business cards and connect with people on LinkedIn, and follow through on any action items that you promised to others.
Put some thought into what you gained from the program. Was it worth your time and money? All in all investing in professional development for yourself and your team is an essential part of your success. Put the effort in and tackle each program with a plan to get the most out of your investment.
Please Share your Tips in the comments section so that we can continue the Ripple Effect of educating others. Thank you! #ripplestrength