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How to Obtain Productive Results From a Conference

You signed up for a convention and are eagerly reviewing the program.  Wow!  So many events to see and do.  What is the best way to spend your time?  It can be physically, mentally and financially demanding.  Conferences can be a big investment in terms of the registration fees, accommodation and time.  Here’s how you can get the most out of your investment in order to survive and thrive.

  1. Know your objectives and plan your attack.  Why did you sign up?  Why are you there?  Be very clear on what you want to achieve. When reviewing the program, it is easy to get distracted.  Purposefully plan each day and seek others in your line of business.  Work on developing your skill set, technical knowledge and contacts.
  2. Attend the sessions.  Yes, it is easy to skip out and have an extra drink in the bar.  But…you signed you for a reason and you may miss out on something important.  Take copious notes on the areas that are relevant to you.  Also consider how you can apply these ideas.  
  3. Divide and conquer. Often two or three great sessions occur at the same time. Find someone else who is interested in your topic.  Attend the sessions and share your notes and handouts.
  4. After each session choose 1 or 2 actions that you will explore or action.  It might be tempting to write down 5 or 6 actions, but let's keep it manageable.
  5. At the end of the day, take 10 minutes to go over your notes.  Request the presentation deck from the speakers, if they stood out.  What did you learn and what will you do with what you have learned?  Hallway or bar discussions are a great way to compare your learnings with others.  Ask the question, “What was your most important learning today? “ Or “What was the highlight of your day?”  This is one way to get the conversation going.
  6. Plan your next day as you revisit your objectives.
  7. Swap notes with others.  They will be most appreciative.  It is also a great way to establish connections or reconnect with people you have not seen for a while.
  8. On the way home, review the notes once again and prioritize a list of what you will action.
  9. Have an accountability partner or master mind group to keep your actions active.
  10.  As Nike would say, “Just do it!”