Going to a conference like the Financial Brand can be overwhelming! There are so many different things to do, and you want to make the most of your time. Here’s a guide for enjoying the conference and coming back to the office refreshed, relaxed and with lots of great ideas you can implement right away and over the next few months.
- Review the agenda to see what interests you and organize your rough agenda. Create a plan for using your time while at the conference, selecting the breakout sessions you will attend — all while keeping in mind that a conference is the perfect setting to learn something new — and to find out about topics you don’t normally have the opportunity to explore.
- Plan for time to network. Sure, you want to touch base with familiar faces, but step out of your comfort zone to meet new people, too.
- Build in time to relax. It’s important to give your mind time to process all the cutting-edge ideas you’re hearing. Yes, you came to learn, but taking in the local sights and relaxing with people you’re meeting will help you integrate what you’re learning.
While in Sessions:
- Ask questions. This is the biggest gift you can give the presenter(s), because it shows them that you’re engaged. Asking the right questions generates more information from the presenter — things they may not have otherwise covered. In a way, this becomes a favor to everyone in the room. It also introduces you and your topical awareness to those around you, which can create networking opportunities later.
- If you feel it’s appropriate, tweet what you’ve learned with the #FinancialBrand hashtag. This connects you to those not at the conference, while also providing you with a list of the highlights you can easily access later by searching the hashtag.
Don’t assume that everything will be available online after the fact — print out materials that interest you so you can refer back to them later.
- Take notes during sessions. This will help you better remember what was covered, along with your own ideas on how to implement.
- The opportunities are endless. Keep an eye out for the attendees, vendors and speakers you want to speak with.
- Prepare a list of questions you’d like to discuss with others. Then, seek out those folks and Introduce yourself. This isn’t the time to be shy or modest.
- Ask for advice. Everyone loves to be asked for their insights, so this is a great icebreaker and the perfect way to connect while at a conference. You won’t be forgotten!
- Ask if it’s OK to follow up later. This way, when you email the marketing director you’d like to trade ideas with, she’s expecting your message.
During Your Free Time:
- In addition to networking, spend a little time reviewing your notes after each session.
- When the day is done and you’re relaxing in your room, jot down a few things you want to implement when you get back.
- Schedule a few to-do’s on your calendar. Yes, while you’re at the conference, so when you get back, it’s already on your agenda.
- Set a time on your schedule to review your notes.
- Take immediate action on three things.
- Meet with your staff or anyone in your department to review what you’ve learned, thus maximizing your increased knowledge for both you and everyone you share it with.
- Register for next year’s conference!
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