Conference season is officially upon us! And to kick it off we decided to create the ultimate guide to managing your conference experience. So regardless of what your industry or specialty may be here’s the tricks of the trade for whatever conference you might find yourself at!
Before every conference prepare yourself by deciding what it is you want your major take away to be. Consult the list of speakers and educational events and decide what might be most beneficial to your needs. Conferences are always overwhelming so be sure to add the list of sessions that you plan attend to your calendar. Also, having a list of questions that you want answered either in those sessions or during your networking time helps keep you on track to achieve your ultimate goals.
One of the hardest parts of any conference, such as WBENC, is that is takes place in a massive convention space and that can make connecting with folks challenging. To maximize efficiency during the conference, plan ahead by mapping out what booths you want to stop by and network with. In the weeks leading up to the event, reach out to connections you think might be attending and create a plan to meet up for coffee or drinks. Typically there are Facebook or LinkedIn groups for attendees to start networking with one another prior to the event. And above all conferences are the perfect excuse to reach out to someone outside of your network that you’ve been looking for an excuse to connect with.
During the speakers make sure to focus on the content and not on your prepared list of questions. Be sure to actively participate and engage with your fellow attendees. At the end of each session be sure to write down one major take away from each talk or conversation you have. By the end of the conference you will have a concise list of takeaways to refer back to (and probably some great swag too).
After the conference take a look at the list of takeaways you wrote during the event. Decipher which items are action items and which fall into the advice category. If you have follow-up questions don’t be afraid to reach out to the speakers or panelists from the event. More often then not they are happy to connect and expand on their points. Don’t be afraid to connect with other attendees via social media, because at the end of the day almost everyone is there to grow and build their networks. Last but not least be sure to share your learnings with your team and organization. The knowledge that you gain can act as a wildfire for new ideas within your office.
P.S. If you’re at WBENC in Las Vegas this week be sure to swing by our booth (#1031), meet our team and maybe even grab some goodies!