A conference is an excellent opportunity for professional development and networking. With so many different options, however, it can also be overwhelming. To get the most out of your experience, preparation is key. Whether you’re going for the first time or are a veteran in this space, prepare for a Conference!
Prepare for a Conference and know what you’re going for
Before you even start looking for a conference to attend, it’s important to know why you are going. Are you trying to network with other professionals in your field? Are you hoping to gain new skills? Are you interested in exploring a new career path or industry? Knowing what your goals are will help you narrow down the conferences you choose. It will also help you stay focused and make the most of your experience. So first you prepare for a conference by clarifying your goals.
Choose the Right Conference for You
Once you’ve chosen a few conferences that you’re interested in, you need to make sure that they’re the right fit for you. While many conferences offer different types of ticket options (i.e. individual, student, industry expert, etc.), it’s important to make sure that you are purchasing the right one for your needs. When deciding which conference to attend, consider the following:
– Cost: While there are many conferences that offer discounted tickets or other costs, you may be able to find additional scholarships or financial aid opportunities. You can also ask your company if there are any costs associated with attending.
– Target Audience: Who will you be rubbing elbows with at the conference? Depending on the topic of the conference, you may be surrounded by professionals from different fields. If you’re looking to network with people in your industry, this may not be the best option.
– Venue: Where is the conference being held? Is it easily accessible to you? Depending on the conference, they may also offer travel stipends to make the trip more affordable.
– Conference Schedule: What are the sessions you can choose from? Will you have the opportunity to choose the panel topics that interest you? If you have a specific topic in mind, make sure that it is one of the panels being offered.
– Conference Size: Does the conference have a limited capacity? This can help to ensure that you have a more personalized experience while still having the opportunity to meet many new people.
Prepare for a conference and know – Networking is the Key
Networking is the key in growing your professional network. The good news is that it’s also the easiest way to get the most out of a conference experience. By networking, you’re not only growing your network but also forming new relationships. These new relationships can last well beyond the conference, leading to new opportunities for professional development and opportunities. Find Contacts in Your Field: While you likely won’t be able to come away with a job opportunity at a conference, you can make valuable connections that can lead to new opportunities. Be sure to write down the names and contact information of everyone you meet.
Write Down Your Goals and Commit while preparing for a conference
Before you go to the conference, write down a few goals that you want to achieve during the conference. By setting specific goals, you’ll be more likely to come away from the conference with something that you can use. Depending on the conference, these goals may change. That’s okay. If you hit your original goal, awesome! If not, that’s okay too. You can always revisit your goals at the end of the conference. When setting goals for a conference, be sure to include both long- and short-term goals. For example, one long-term goal could be to learn about the various industries being explored by one of the sessions. A short-term goal could be to network with two people during the conference. Make sure that your goals are both SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) and SALT (solvable, attainable, relevant, and timely).
The Day Before – Check Your Gear and Conference Planning
Before you go to the conference, make sure that you have everything that you need and you are prepared for a conference. Check and make sure you have the following items:
– Business Cards: You can’t exchange these in the future, so make sure that the information on them is accurate.
– Extra USBs: If you need to share your presentation with someone, use a USB drive instead of putting it on Dropbox.
– Laptop/Computer: Make sure that your computer is up to date and ready to go.
– Power Bar: Bring a power bar and plenty of extensions so that you can charge all of your devices.
– Memory Cards: Bring enough memory cards to store all of the photos that you plan to take at the conference.
– Business Cards: If you’re bringing your own cards, make sure that they are ready to go. If you’re printing new cards, order them well in advance so that you have them in hand before the conference.
Conference tips: The Day After – Follow Up and Reflect
After the conference, it’s time to follow up with the people you met during the conference. If you used a networking app like Squat, you can easily follow up with them. If not, you can use an excel spreadsheet or Google Doc to keep track of your contacts. Once you have their information, make sure to follow up with them within 48 hours. Make sure that you also reflect on your experience after the conference. What did you enjoy about it? What could have been better? What can you do better next time? What did you learn? What can you take with you to your day to day life? These are some of the most common questions that are asked about conferences. However, if you’ve read this article, you know that the experience of going to a conference is more than just listening to a few talks. It’s about learning new things, meeting new people, and growing as a person.