Taking time out from work to attend a conference could potentially be an opportunity to learn and establish valuable connections for your company. How to get the most out of a conference tips:
Sift Through Your Notes
During the conference, note down or star your favorite action steps and ideas before transferring them to a separate document. Take heed of key information before it gets swamped by the tower of sheets you take home with you at the end of the day. Every conference speaker will have a main point to take away, so summarize this at the top of each document for further consideration.
Don’t Be A Sheep
If you find yourself in a great conversation with a potential business associate, should you run away to the next session? No. It is often the case that you’ll find the most beneficial nuggets of information between lectures, rather than during them.
Face Your Business Cards
You’ll feel a bit like corporate Santa when you turn up to your hotel room with a sack full of business cards. Organize your cards into two groups: primary and secondary. Primary business cards are those that you plan to directly follow up for a specific need, so write down that action on the back of each card. Secondary are just there to keep on file as useful contacts. Ditch the rest.
Dress And Behave Professionally
Conference organizers often arrange evening drinks or a party where delegates can ‘let go’ and enjoy themselves after a long day of learning and networking. Keep up an air of professionalism at all times and attend the conference in your best business suit. You want to make a good impression on potential colleagues and clients, and you can’t do that if you’re completely sloshed. Think about what attractive qualities you should adopt to get people to approach you.
Conferences can be intimidating – in large crowds, it can be easy to sip your drink quietly in the corner, while everyone else does the talking. Just get out there and introduce yourself to the kind of people you would like to meet. Speak up during question time and generally make your presence felt.
Take it Slow
Pace yourself and get good sleep. After the first day or two you will burn out without downtime and healthy eating. Set out goals before you leave of what you would like to achieve throughout this conference.
Find time to do a little exercise and relax. Go to bed at a reasonable time and enjoy yourself. Adrenaline often gets pumping in these situations, so drink plenty of water and take breaks when you feel you need them.
Carry Only What You Need
It’s tempting to carry around everything that’s thrown at you, but by the end of the day, you’ll have so much junk that you’ll never use and the effort of lugging it around will sap at your much needed energy reserves. Keep away from the freebies.
About the Author
Francesca is a writer who writes for the University of Liverpool.