How to Get the Most Out of a Conference
You’ve done it! You bought that conference ticket and booked your flight. You’ve started packing, and unpacking and then re-packing. Every little detail has been accounted for, but it still hasn’t calmed your nerves. Making the decision to attend a conference or live event is always a little bit scary, right? If you’re anything like me, you have a million questions circulating in your head. Is the investment of time and money worth it? Will my questions be answered?
Worse yet, is the fear of the unknown. The fear of being all alone, of not knowing who to talk to, or how to make those connections you know are so vital to success as a blogger.
We know this feeling all too well. In fact, our stomachs get twisted with nerves every time we enter a conference room too!
But over the years we’ve also learned how to overcome those nerves and make the most of our conference time. And if you are in the same boat, here are four simple strategies that can help.
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Planning ahead doesn’t have to be difficult! If you are traveling to your conference, I recommend booking a room in the same hotel or nearby to the conference venue. That way you don’t have to worry about getting around in a city that you might be unfamiliar with.
And, if the conference starts early in the morning, arrive the day before. That will give you time to get acclimated and have a good night sleep so you can wake up ready for the day.
If you are worried about what to wear, look up pictures from last year’s conference. This will give you a general idea of the attire. If you can’t find any photos, feel free to email the organizers and ask.
KEEP CALM AND BRING THESE…
Business cards: Not only is this a great way for you to remember the people you met at a conference, but it is a super convenient way for them to remember you too! I would recommend making sure you include your name, blog, email address, AND your headshot. Leaving the back blank is a perfect way for those you met to take notes about you and your conversation so that they can remember you more clearly. If you are coming to ACTIVATE, we would recommend having these printed ASAP if you haven’t already.
Notebook: Having a place to keep notes is crucial. Whether you are taking notes of the sessions themselves or jotting down questions to ask while you are networking- this is an item you don’t want to arrive without. I also recommend ditching the computer and going old-school for note taking. You won’t be distracted by incoming emails or get tired of hauling a heavy computer with you all day.
* If you are attending ACTIVATE, we do provide a workbook, but we definitely encourage an additional blank notebook to allow for more note taking.
Pens, Pencils, Markers, Highlighters: Always come prepared with plenty of pens, or pencils, etc. I personally love the Frixion erasable pens, but you should bring what you are comfortable with and love. Highlighters are also great for following along with inside workbooks!
Snacks and Water: Meal breaks are a given, but in case you enjoy a quick snack between meals, bring them with you! That way you don’t miss anything while you’re out searching for food. Snacks also keep your brain engaged and help with networking! No getting hangry allowed! Remember to bring a reusable water bottle with you as well. That way you can stay hydrated throughout the whole event, which is especially helpful during networking.
Backpack or Bag: It will be a long day, you should have something convenient to carry all of your things in! From snacks to notebooks to a sweater, you will be prepared and comfortable all day!
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SET SPECIFIC GOALS
It happens all the time. When we attend a conference, we get so excited to network and learn “all the things.” We get caught up in the energy and excitement of the event-only to walk away without the “a-ha moment” we were looking for.
So before attending your conference, you should take a good look at the schedule and speakers. It’s super beneficial to decide on the 1 thing you want to take away from the conference as a whole and the 1 thing you want to take away from each speaker. Write down the things you want to learn AND how you those takeaways will improve your business. Doing so will really keep you on task and focused. You will truly get the most out of your conference.
Reading your goals and takeaways after the conference will also help jog your memory and keep the lessons fresh for you to start applying them once you get home.
*This tips will be a huge help for your 1:1 session for those who are coming to see us at ACTIVATE in September.
Whenever you notice a break in the schedule, get your business cards handy! Here’s a secret to networking well…use key takeaways from the conference as talking points. You will immediately all have one thing in common, the conference itself. And, most likely, people you meet will be relieved and happy to have someone to talk to. Mingling with like-minded individuals will help open up new opportunities and possibilities! Don’t be afraid to ask for business cards or give yours out as well!
Read more about networking for introvers on our earlier post: https://eliteblogacademy.com/introverted-bloggers-guide-networking/
Attending conferences can be a great opportunity to learn a lot and meet wonderful people, but it doesn’t have to be a challenge. By planning ahead, making sure to bring all the right things, setting specific goals, and networking well, you will make the most of your time and hopefully come away with a few friends in the process!