Attending a conference opens up a world of opportunity for growth, learning and fellowship. Why not plan ahead to maximise the benefits?
Take the time to write down a number of goals before heading off to the conference, e.g. hone specific skills, questions you want to be answered, people to contact, referrals, etc.
Hotels and conferences often have great temperature variations so it’s advisable to dress in layers that can be removed or added, depending on the temperature. Wear clothes and shoes (low heels for women) that are comfortable.
Take Care of Your Body
A good conference gets the adrenaline flowing so it’s important to take good care of yourself. Drink plenty of fluids, but remember that coffee and other caffeinated beverages often cause "dry mouth." Follow your normal eating and drinking pattern as much as possible even though it may be tempting to go for the alcohol and sweets. Many venues have an exercise room, spa or sauna − why not use them?
Conferences tend to be events with plenty of excitement and stimulation so it’s important to maintain your balance by sticking to a normal routine as much as possible.
Arrange for a wake-up call or set an alarm to go for a morning walk/run. Bring a book or journal. Do a bit of yoga or another exercise in your room.
Network, Network, Network
A conference provides the perfect opportunity to market yourself and to get to know others. You've already set goals to get you started. Also, never underestimate the value of connecting with the less popular participants – at one point the keynote speaker was less popular too. Listen to what others have to say, engage in positive conversation to ensure others remember you and make the effort to be helpful.
Learn From Every Experience
There’s much to learn at a conference, from inspirational speakers to interesting colleagues. You might make a mistake or two but they can be turned into learning opportunities.