Tips for Effective Conference Experiences
Conferences are great opportunities to connect with people – and they aren’t always cheap. To make the most of the money you – or your business – spends, it’s important to make the most of it.
Before the conference
- Set your goals. What do you want to get out of this conference? Connections? Knowledge? Potential clients or partners? By prioritizing your goals, you’ll have a better, more effective conference experience.
- Do your research. After your goals are set, use them to guide your conference experience. Research speakers to hear, presentations to attend, and exhibitors to visit. While you’re at it, go through the conference website and make sure your lodging and travel arrangements are in order.
- Double-check your luggage. Make sure you’ve packed the right clothes, chargers, and any items you’ll need to take notes. By preparing ahead of time, you’ll be more confident heading into the conference itself.
At the conference
- Make new connections. If you’re attending with a group of coworkers, don’t stick with them the whole conference. Branch out, meet new people, and ask questions. You’ll not only make new connections – you’ll learn new things about your industry as a whole.
- Take notes. Whether you’re in a presentation or just thinking over breakfast, take notes about the whole conference experience. What are you learning? What should you take back to your work?
- Join the conversation on social. Does the conference have a hashtag? See if others are using it, then join in the conversation. It’s a quick, easy way to create connections with other attendees.
After the conference
- Go through your notes. If you’re an avid note-taker, it can be overwhelming to go through all the pages of ideas, photos of slides, and business cards from new connections. Spend some time immediately after the conference dividing
- Set up an action plan. It’s time to put what you’ve learned at the conference into action. Go back through your notes, and highlight any strategies or lessons you saw as valuable.
- Share your findings. Set up time to meet with your coworkers and share what you learned. Discuss as a group – how can you take that information and put it to work?