Attending a conference can be exciting and overwhelming, particularly if it’s your first time! Making the most of any conference experience can be challenging, from keeping track of the many concurrent sessions to the multiple networking events happening morning and night – it’s a lot of work!
Conferences are also an investment, and many attendees find themselves overwhelmed trying to take advantage of all the options – even if those choices might not be a good fit for you. If that’s how you currently feel, have no fear; we are here to help! We want you to get the most out of your time and money, and these helpful tips below will do just the trick to getting you started!
5 tips to get the most out of a conference
Make a plan
Many conferences today have jam-packed schedules that require you to pick and choose which sessions you want to attend. It’s essential to do your research on the conference schedule and speakers beforehand to make the most out of your experience. This will help you plan the events and sessions you want to attend and make any necessary reservations or purchases.
Bonus tip: If you are attending a conference with a friend, divide and conquer! You can maximize on the sessions you get to attend and learn from if you both head to different ones, so make that plan ahead together!
Nothing is worse than getting home after so much excitement and realizing you can’t recall the details your favorite speaker said, or worse; your notes don’t make much sense anymore. Stay organized by keeping track of your scribbles, notes, and tips by using Google Docs, the note section on your phone, or a handy app called Evernote.
Bonus tip: One of our favorite tricks is using the voice memo feature on our phones to record the speaker presentation. You can take notes on the slides or even snap pics of them, even while recording. Being able to listen back to the presentation and see the slides when you return home is a big plus.
Take advantage of all the opportunities available by actively participating in sessions, connecting with new contacts, and attending happy hours and onsite/offsite networking events. The connections you make while attending a conference can provide valuable insights and opportunities that will benefit your career in the long run.
Connect with other attendees
Getting involved is oftentimes hard for first-time conference attendees since you don’t know anyone. Have no fear, most conferences will have a FB page or group that you can join before the conference. Post to the group introducing yourself, sharing what you do and where you are coming from. You’ll be amazed at how many other attendees you connect with and make plans with just from that thread alone!
When you get home, be sure to reconnect with attendees and speakers you met on LinkedIn and Instagram to continue your new connections and solidify those new friendships!
Don’t forget all the little things that make a long day at a conference that much more enjoyable, like portable chargers, comfortable shoes, plenty of water and snacks, and any materials or notes needed for sessions. Don’t forget to also bring along your business cards, or better yet, save the planet and show off your tech skills by creating a digital business card using Popl.
With just a little bit of planning and prep, attendees can maximize their conference experience and come away feeling inspired, motivated, and deeply connected, which all points to an excellent return on your investment.