Attending a professional conference can be a wonderful opportunity for professional growth and personal enrichment. You can take steps to make your experience is a positive and rewarding one.
Before You Go
- Be sure to get plenty of rest
- Study the conference agenda and workshop schedule, choose workshops in advance and plan for a backup in case of cancellation.
- Study the event map. If there are multiple locations, try to plan to attend workshops that are reasonably close together to avoid a mad rush across town. Locate information booths, restrooms, and food areas in advance.
Pack with a Purpose
- Bring a backpack or large shoulder bag to carry the many handouts, books, resources you may collect.
- If you only remember one thing, bring comfortable shoes. You can expect lots of walking and uncomfortable shoes can put a damper on energy very quickly.
- Pack a small snack such as a granola bar for times when you don't want to take the time out for a sit down meal or need a quick inexpensive pick-me-up.
- Bring business cards or address labels on index cards for the many drawings that are often offered in exhibit areas.
During the Conference
- Arrive at workshops early to choose a good seat and collect handouts. If you anticipate a reason you may need to leave early, sit near the back.
- Some conferences have you commit to workshops in advance while others allow you to come and go as you please. If you are not restricted to certain workshops, you may wish to sit in the back and leave if you recognize the workshop is not meeting your expectations.
- Take advantages of networking opportunities when you can. There is much to be learned from others from other programs and places. Join in panel discussions, ride the shuttle buses, or attend an affiliate "tea".
- Look out for special promotions and discounts available for conference attendees.
- Leave time for exploring the exhibit hall. If you think you may purchase something save this trip for the end of your day so you are not stuck lugging your treasures with you all day.
- Review safety tips and precautions.