What to do Before Attending a Conference
1. Tidy up your desk
Aim to finish tasks, projects and deadlines that might distract you from making most of the conference. Ensure you notify your boss, supervisors. Whatever can wait until you return, let it wait.
2. Gather all necessary documents
Whether local or international, gather all the documents including transportation, travel documents, letters, confirmation letters, ID cards, hotel bookings, everything required for your journey. Don’t forget to check how to get there. Know your travel itinerary. A missed flight is never a good way to start.
3. Prepare to Meet Specific People
Make a list of the sessions you plan to attend and the people you would like to connect with. List 4-5 people you must meet at least at the conference to get you to the next level. They don’t necessary have to be the speakers, or VIP at the event. Target to meet fellow, and even junior colleagues. Google people you want to meet, visit their blogs, websites, social media and learn as much as you can about them to create a good conversation.
4. Prepare What to Say
When someone asks, “What do you do?” One sentence should open the door and offer them something they can remember about you. So, prepare a few introductory words and practice an elevator pitch. Who are you? What do you do? Rehearse your answers ahead of time to prepare your thoughts. Don’t forget why they should want to meet you. Confidence can go a long way.
5. Get a Business card
If you can, have a simple, branded card with your details on it including your Researchgate, Linkedin etc. Ensure you have sufficient quantities.
6. Get a Few Questions
Have a few questions you can ask publicly at the event. Prepare questions to start a conversation, chit chat, ice breakers, or statements that can establish commonality or a personal connection. Is this your first time at this conference? What was your favorite takeaway last year? What’s your biggest accomplishment so far this year?
7. Use Social Media to your Advantage
Use LinkedIn to connect to people you meet. Use Twitter and Google+ to tell people who you have met and share a link to their work or website. Use Facebook to post great pictures and videos of you in action. Use Twitter to share your live experiences as they are happening. Use as many media platform to your advantage. Connect with them immediately on LinkedIn with a note about meeting them and any other primary social media they use. If people are in proximity, take the initiative to invite them to meet in person. Use hashtag to let people know you are attending the event.
8. Check all Electronics
Check that you’ve carried your chargers, cords and batteries, laptops, tablets etc and you have your slides backed up with multiple formats including USB storage and emails.
9. Right Frame of Mind
Sleep well a night before. Be enthusiastic. Smile. Be pleasant. Be polite. Enjoy and show your enjoyment.
10. Have your Resume
If you are seeking a new job opportunity, it will be handy to have reviewed and updated your resume. Make sure it’s not more than 1-2 pages and print it to check how it looks on paper. Print a few copies. You might want make the best of the time at the conference. So organise your time in advance. What sessions do I need o attend to meet who?
Be prepared, have fun and make the very most of it to make an impression, enhance relationships and create new ones.
Have I missed anything?
What’s in your to-do list to prepare for a conference?
Feel free to share your comments and bonus tips below.
Find out more about YMC-2017 or register here