If you need to enhance your career, know the latest trends in market, gain new skills and get more information on how to uplift yourself, then better attend conferences. Besides travel and free meals, attending conference is the best thing you could do for your career. Of course, the sessions, contacts, conversations, presentations, meet-ups are overwhelming. You might not know which to focus on. You are sure to get a handful of business cards and new contacts on your mobile. But there is more to it than this. Let’s have an in-depth look.
1) Choose right session:
Any conference do have many sessions and events. Look into the range of events that are being held and select the sessions that you are interested to participate in. See that you attend sessions that will update your skill set, reviewing topics that are new, or events that socialise. Take time to review the events of conference and schedule yourself to attend them accordingly.
2) Register early:
Most of the conferences request for registration to know the number of people attending them to help out with seating, refreshments and giveaways arrangements. Hence, make it a point to register at the earliest possible. Some conferences request for a small registration fee while some are free to attend.
3) Prepare questions:
As you attend conferences to learn, you could review the pre-conference articles that are always sent out. You could prepare a list of questions before you attend the session. To get maximum benefit, asking questions will help one to get more information on the trends that to be visualised.
4) Stay focused:
As conferences are always filled with information, keeping yourself focussed is primary concern. Pay attention to the words and sign language the speaker had used. You could also learn how each speaker conveys their message and what techniques they involve to grab the attention of the audience. Listening is the foremost attitude that you need to maintain. Sometimes, lucky draws with valuable gifts are given for answering questions. Diverting your mind to other activities will spoil the reason for attending conferences.
5) Take notes:
As in other seminars or workshops, conferences do bring in a lot of information or key addresses that can’t be memorized. Hence, it’s imperative to bring in your pen and notebook or smart phone or tablet or laptop to take notes. Making notes allows you to have a follow-up on the issue and also help you to connect with them in case of necessity.
6) Know to connect with speakers:
The main show moves forward based on the speaker of the conference. So making a connection with the speaker is best always. How do you connect? You could pose questions if you don’t understand or say hello during a coffee break or introduce yourself and get business card or inform that presentation was good after the end of the session. If you do not happen to get chance to get a moment, then you could follow on Twitter and pose your point or question.
7) Take time to socialize:
Be it seminars or conferences, these events are best way to socialise and meet new people and get new contacts. It is a way to connect with people in a relaxed setting. All you will need to do is move around during the break and introduce yourself and gather information. And also linger around for a few moments after the session to continue your talk with a new contact.
8) Updates made available:
Usually conferences are events or sessions that are meant to give updates on the business trends, like a new product or new idea launch or future innovations. Hence, you would need to know what the conference is all about before attending it. Once you are aware about it, don’t miss the opportunity to keep abreast of the trends. You would surely be happy on the updates as you may consider yourself to be ahead than your counterparts. So don’t miss the oppurtunity.
9) Keep away your smart phone:
Events are meant to make new contacts and connections. Dwindling with your smartphone and tweeting on the messages about the event would hinder you in making contacts or speaking with person sitting next to you. Just put it away for some time and it’s not necessary to disconnect or switch off. Take this as an opportunity to meet people who might share the same taste as you have. So go out of way and strike a conversation with attendees during coffee break or while having to wait for the session to begin.
10) Maximise your presence:
To gain more experience in to the conference, you could participate in this event as co-ordinator or facilitator or presenter or volunteer. This way you could be getting noticed and set yourself apart from the others. Also this way you could get more information from whomever you meet. Conferences are sessions that helps one to understand the competition of your business.
11) Make follow-up:
After the event you would have many business cards and contact numbers. What do you do with them? Make new connections and expand your network. Facebook or Twitter or Gmail are ways to connect with them and follow-up indicating your interest. Sending a personal note indicate that the meeting with them was good, you would establish a new contact to enhance your career moves. You could also set-up a face to face meeting or make a phone call to establish your new contact.
12) Share with fellow workers:
The information, details of the contacts, what had inspired you and much more that you have gathered at conference could be shared with your fellow workers, colleagues, and friends. Even you could use the network to send out videos you had taken and could mention a few important points in the upcoming meetings. Share a few important or interesting contacts with your boss over a cup of coffee.
13) Solidify your current network:
Through conferences, you not only establish new ones, you could strengthen your existing ones as well. This could be easily done by inviting your friends on the network to attend the conference along with you. It’s like sharing your knowledge with him/her. So go ahead and solidify your current professional networks.
14) Stay motivated:
Attending conferences allows one to meet more people and expand the network of professionals. Your approach towards these events should be considered beyond professional duties as it eventually provides growth through knowledge and learning. Look forward to attending more conferences to enhance your network and thereby grow and make advancement in your career.
15) Creating amicable environment:
If you do not feel comfortable in making contacts in such a large gathering, you could organise a small gathering over dinner or cup of coffee before the conference to allow easy face to face talks or discussion making more room for sharing interest. The small gathering could also initiate new business ideas and new ventures!
16) Practise listening skill:
When attending conferences, it’s ideal to allow other to talk as well. This will allow healthy discussion and sharing of right information. If you have organised then it is advisable to ask everyone to introduce themselves. You could identify common interests among the members and highlight them. Maintain cohesion among them and not fragment them.
17) Manage time:
Having to deal with many events and make your presence available, it is wise to strategize your time. Some events might be more informative but some maybe not quite so. Then prioritise yourself to attend which is helpful to learn and grow. Look into the fine details of the conference and what is the agenda. This would help you to schedule and manage your time.
18) Take care of self:
Being involved in conferences is time consuming and energy consumption. Lots of messages go around, discussions, party or cocktail in the evening, there could be many such events that are scheduled for the 2 or 5 day conference. Whatever that you intend to get involved with, it is necessary for you to take care of yourself in terms of nutrition, rest and sleep. So treat yourself as well as take care.
Working life does involve participating in professional conferences. Though you might not be a person who is very interested in attending social gatherings, you need to come out of it and attend conferences for your sake. The major benefit is networking which is a very critical factor for achieving your goal in professional as well as personal life. Even though networking is quicker with the internet, having a face to face interaction is considered more valuable and serious.