I just got back from a conference in San Antonio and this being my 4th professional conference, I thought I would share some of my tips for attending a conference. Now, per usual, I’m no expert at attending conferences but I think I have picked up some good tips.
1.) Bring business cards. It makes networking so much easier and follow-up a breeze.
2.) Prepare icebreakers, especially if you are introvert. Prepare an elevator speech of what you do and where your interests are. Remember that networking isn’t all about you, try to figure out how you could help out the person you are networking with.
3.) Break out of your comfort zone but know when you need to revert back to your comfort zone or “reset”. For example, at my last conference I just hit a wall of meeting too many people and having too many interactions so I went up to my room and hit the hotel gym, did a quick workout and a quick shower. It was exactly what I needed to make the most out of the rest of the day. I missed a session, yes, but I wouldn’t have been able to make the most out of my other two sessions had I not “reset”.
These are just a few tips, basic tips for making the most of a conference. There are some things that are beyond your control, you can’t control the content of the conference (unless you are one of the presenters), you can’t control the location or the weather…but you can control how you attend the conference and what you get out of the conference.