10 Ways to Boost Your Conference Experience

Have you every thought about how to best prepare for a conference?

Are there ways to make the most of each session?

What’s the best way to connect with other attendees and follow up with new contacts?

How should you go about processing all that you learned post-conference?

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You’ve made the decision to attend a conference, which is indeed a sacrifice time and money, so why not take a few minutes to consider how to make the most of your investment by implementing this 10 simple ideas:

1. Research

Take time to read through the conference website to gather information on:

  • Location and Hotel Amenities ~ determine if you need to make provisions for wii-fi, meals, checkout times, transportation details
  • Key Note Speakers ~ look up their websites and get familiar with who they are and any noteworthy resources they provide
  • Sessions & Speakers ~ read through session descriptions and make a note of which ones you’d like to attend based on content and look up speaker websites to help determine if that session would be a worthy investment for you
  • Clothing ~ find out the conference dress code

2. Set Conference Goals

Decide what you would like to get out of the conference by setting a few goals, such as:

  • Personally ~ I would like to walk away with this experience…
  • Professionally ~ I would like to learn how to… or I would like to connect with…
  • Physically ~ I would like to rest… or I would like to make time to work out…
  • Spiritually ~ I would like to grow in this way…

3. Plan Your Schedule

With your goals in mind, plan which sessions you will attend and how you’ll make time to accomplish your goals.

4. Plan Your Contacts

Decide if there is anyone attending the conference that you would like to meet-up with and schedule those appointments now based on the conference agenda.

5. Prepare a Personal Statement {Elevator Pitch}

Before you head to the conference, you need to consider how you will introduce yourself to others. What is the one thing you want people to walk away remembering about you? What is your distinctive — that one thing that sets you apart and makes you different? What service or product can you give to those you meet, that will benefit them as well as you? In marketing, this is called an elevator speech, which needs to be thoughtfully put together in order to be effective. Take time now to write how what you would say and practice it to make sure it flows naturally off your lips. It should be sincere, not canned. Professional but not like a sales pitch. Check out this, this, and this for ideas.

6. Pray! Pray! Pray!

Before you leave for your conference devote a good bit of time to praying for the Lord’s will on your time and focus. Surrender your plans to Him and put your trust in His outcome. Ask for His direction on who you will meet and the information you will gather.

7. Gather & Pack

You don’t want to end up at the conference unprepared, so consider these following items to bring:

  • business cards ~ include your social media links and contact information
  • business card organizer ~ you’ll be collecting business cards from others, so decide how you’ll organize those cards (a popular suggestion is to bring a notebook and tape, and put each contact on a page with notes about that person; or you can use index cards on a ring or a coupon holder)
  • notebook ~ decide how you’ll take notes
  • computer or tablet ~ decide what you’ll need to bring for the work you hope to accomplish
  • clothing ~ find out the attire for each aspect of the conference and also decide if you want to bring work-out clothes and/or swim suit; try to find out if the conference center is cool or stuff and same for the rooms
  • luggage & conference bag ~dust off your luggage and verify dimensions based on travel restrictions; also be sure to have a bag to tote around your conference gear, unless the organizers will be providing a bag for you
  • snacks ~ find out if the conference will have snacks available to you or if you should pack some of your own

8. Schedule a Post-Conference Follow Up within 48 Hours

Before you return home, set a date and time in which you can follow up on your conference experience. Upon your return home, put all your materials in one folder and tack a post it note on the top indicating when you’ll go through those materials.

9. Post Conference Follow Up

The post conference followup time is critical, if you want to get the most of out of your investment. Use this time to do the following:

  • review the material in your folder, highlighting anything you want to read further and schedule it on your calendar
  • add your contacts to your address book
  • follow up on social media links
  • note any contacts you need to follow up with and the date by which you need to do so
  • set 1-3 short term goals that you’d like to accomplish in the next three months
  • set 1-3 long terms goals that you’d like to accomplish in the next six months
  • like the conference goals, you can divide your short term and long term goals into categories
  • if you like to write, take the time to record your reflections about the conference, what worked well, and what you’d do differently next time

10. Plan Accountability

Grab your calendar and find a date three months from now and six months from now to follow up on your short term and long term goals. At that check in time, grab your conference folder, review the materials, and see if you applied what you learned and accomplished what you intended. If you didn’t make note of why and decide if you should set a new date. Also, consider what conference might be in your future and start praying about that decision now.

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A conference is a fabulous opportunity to break out from the routine, be inspired by new ideas, and connect with kindred spirits. Make the most of your conference investment by preparing well, and you’ll walk away from your experience satisfied with your sacrifice of time and money. So be sure to download these ten steps for boosting your conference experience using the button below, and also consider the “Boost My Conference” coaching package designed to work with this download:

Boost My Conference $300 for 4 sessions
This package can be divided pre/post conference, with the focus on getting the most out of your conference ticket investment by helping you implement ten steps for boosting your conference experience and offer you encouraging accountability. To book your first session, email elisa at elisapulliam dot com.

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this post originally appeared at pnpcoaching.com

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