How to Prepare for a Professional Conference

There are hundreds of thousands of conferences take place each year across the world and across the United States. With so many conferences in different fields and industries, even after you narrow things down to your industry (say Healthcare which has the, or Technology, or engineering) you still have to choose which conference in which niche to focus on. Once you are able to narrow your conference choice, it serves you better if you develop a detailed plan to make sure you get the full benefits of attending the conference. Below are some steps  you can take to plan correctly

Ways to Prepare

Below are some steps  you can take to plan correctly:

  • Research the presenters and presentations to identify the most valuable and relevant content for you. There will be different events and group seminars and you probably can’t attend all so choosing the ones to attend beforehand will help you greatly
  • Review the schedule and map of the conference center so you have a clear idea of how your day will be laid out. It’s easy to get lost especially in a huge hotel or conference center with lots of people. You don’t want to be late to meeting and seminars because you couldn’t find your way.
  • Download the conference’s mobile app or digital schedule and synchronize it your professional calendar. This lets your colleagues know that you won’t be available during the conference. Some apps will also have a map of the event area if you’re lucky.
  • Turn on notifications for conference alerts so you can stay up-to-date with the latest happenings. Or sign up for the conference newsletter.
  • Once you arrive at the conference you might be surprised at how much information is provided in each session, sometimes an overwhelming amount. Plan to take vigorous notes so you can review the information later. Bring your laptop or tablet to best keep up and access anything that may already be available digitally.

Benefits of attending a Conference

  • It’s a great time to renew your excitement about the work you do.
  • Too much time behind a desk or in front of your computer can cause you to feel a little stale and stodgy. While there’s a world of information available to you online and 10,000 ways to create and consume content, getting out and hearing from people who are doing what you do, but differently, can reignite your enthusiasm.
  • You get to meet online friends and colleagues face to face. We all have the ability to make strong, positive, professional connections using digital technology today. We’re able to connect, collaborate and share information easily and quickly—there’s no denying that. Yet, there’s something powerful about meeting your online contacts face to face, something that serves you and your company well in future business dealings.
  • You will learn new industry trends and how they’re implemented. Professional conferences specialize in finding compelling subject matter and top-notch speakers for their sessions. Attending the event and learning about the latest trends and how they’re being used in your industry augments your knowledge base and gives you something valuable to bring back, and possibly apply, to your own work.
  • It is a chance to evaluate new vendors. As most professional conferences include vendors whose reason for being is to connect with you and educate you on their latest and greatest products and services. You may find new tools you were unaware of, tools that could provide a solution to problems your company, or your customers, are facing.
  • Being in that environment will help you develop new ideas for content based on what’s discussed in the conference and also from what you discuss with your professional peers. In addition to providing educational value, conference sessions can spark new ideas for content.
  • You can make connections with industry media. Effective marketing, public relations, and social media campaigns are built on strong relationships. Making connections with industry media can be invaluable. You never know when you may be able to be a resource for them, which in turn can make it easier to place stories and build buzz when you need to.