How To Get The Most Out Of A Conference
Conferences can be stressful. There are a lot of people that attend. There are a lot of sessions to attend.
You want to enjoy it, but also make the time spent there worth while.
1. Plan something outside of the conference
Conferences are great, but there is also a lot to take in. People, sessions, dinner, friends etc.
Take time away from the conference to separate yourself from the chaos of the event. I usually try to explore the downtown area of the city I am in. Or go for a jog/hike. It can be calming and relaxing.
2. Plan out your different sessions
Don't try and attend everything session at a conference. Pick the ones that are the most relevant to you and will fit into your schedule.
3. Plan out dinners beforehand
If you are going to eat in a cafeteria or at a restaurant, plan what you are going to do for dinner beforehand and with which people. People will want to hangout with you and chat with you. If you have your meals planned out people will see you as a leader and you will not have to waste energy on what/where/who you are doing dinner with.
4. Set up personal time throughout the day
Each day I set aside an hour to do my own thing.
Take my Cousera class
Have time set aside during the day to do your own thing away from all the people. This will allow you to recharge and go back out there and chat with other people.
5. Introduce yourself to new people
Don't go in with an agenda to sell yourself or your product.
Meet as many new people as possible.
Your mission: Ask them questions. Find out as much information about them as possible.
People find another person attractive when that person is attracted to them. The more you listen to someone else and ask them questions about their life the more attractive you will become. They will become curious about you and what you do.
You may need to force an introduction. Find people that you have never met before and go up to them and say hello and ask them questions. It is uncomfortable, but it will be easier the more you do it.
Traditional 'networking' is crap. Do not just try to add people to your personal 'network'. Networking is about helping other people.
Introduce 2 people together. Make sure you ask for permission from both people first before you introduce them.
Connect a person with a resource they need. Listen to a person's problems. Ask the person questions. Try to be as helpful as possible to other people and your network will start to grow. People will start to see that you offer value and will be attracted to that.
7. Give a talk
If you are going to be there anywhere, might as well and take the opportunity to practice your public speaking.
- Practice public speaking
- Become labeled as an expert
- Answer audience questions to get a new perspective
- People will see you as a leader
- People will want to chat with you after the talk
8. Take notes
If you take notes about a session you will be more engaged and you can use those notes later of throw them away.
9. Dress up
People are visual creatures. It always amazes me how people dress going through the airport. We have all seen that person running to catch their flight in flip flops carrying luggage. It stresses me out.
Wearing flip flops to the airport is such a bad idea. There is a more than 50% chances that I would trip and fall or hit my toes on something.
The nicer you dress the more people will consider you a leader or someone of importance. Even if I am just on a virtual call I still dress up and people notice. They take me more seriously.
Dressing up will make you stand out. You will be considered the expert/leader.
10. Have fun
Meeting a bunch of people can be stressful and draining for me. But you also make new friends and can find new people that you click with.
Enjoy the experience, because soon it will be over and you will be back to real life.