Whether you are heading to your first conference or you are a seasoned regular, there are a few vital things you need to do in order to prepare and make the most of any conference or event.
Attending a conference can be a big time commitment and by planning in advance you can rest assured that you are going to maximise your time.
There’s nothing worse than getting frustrated about the small things, and we would like to help make sure you have the best experience possible. The last thing we want is you to arrive at the conference venue stressed out, worried and generally not on your best form.
This is especially true if you are traveling from a far and by taking time out to prepare for the conference, you won’t have to worry that you forgotten something important when you arrive.
In this article we’ve pulled together 10 tips to help you prepare for your conference.
If you aren’t planning on going to any conferences this year, why not? Check out our article about why you should attend industry conferences, seminars and events.
How to prepare for a conference
1. Tie up loose ends at work
Ensure all your tasks and projects are up to date so you can go away from the office with a clear mind. You don’t want to be worrying about deadlines and be preoccupied with other work related tasks while you’re trying to enjoy yourself at a conference.
Tip: Put your vacation mailer on for your email so you don’t feel the need to check emails during the conference.
2. Research the venue location & local transport options
Make sure you know exactly how to get to the venue and how long it will take you to get there on your chosen method of transport.
You really don’t want to be getting lost and running late during the busiest time of the day in a city.
3. Study the conference schedule
Saving a copy of the planned schedule might be helpful to reference throughout the day, and it is always useful after the conference to jog your memory on what happened during the day too.
The schedule may also detail how much networking time you have, and you may want to make the most of this by organising some meetings in advance.
4. Find and connect with other guests
Check out the twitter feed and search for the official conference hashtag in advance and take the time to connect with the other delegates before you arrive.
This is a fantastic way to warm up the conversation before the conference and know who to look out for during the event.
Tip: Arrange to meet people for food and drinks in advance of the conference.
5. Prepare for some serious networking!
A conference is the perfect opportunity to meet new people and strengthen the connections you already have.
Make sure you have your game face on for some serious networking and a hit list of people you want to connect with.
You may even want to come up with some conversation starters to break the ice. Perhaps something a little different than the usual “what do you do?”.
6. Have a social media strategy
Do you intend on tweeting and posting updates on your social platforms throughout the conference? If so, it’s worth preparing your smartphone, tablets and other devices prior to the event.
You may want to set up Hootsuite with relevant streams or prepare Flipboard with the event hashtag.
You might even want to consider live blogging the event and there are many different mediums from which you can do this, whether it’s live video, podcast or via an article.
7. Technology check
Going to conferences in the 21st century means that you’ve got to think digital and social, which also means you’ve got to think about your tech.
Before the conference make sure all your electronic devices are fully charged. You might even want to check to see if the venue has wall sockets available for you to charge throughout the day if need be.
Click here to buy a portable charger for you phone or tablet (we have Anker’s and they are life savers!)
Also, make sure you’ve got enough available memory on your phone for photos and videos by backing up any files you have.
8. Pen and paper
Although any good conference will provide you with this you may have an idea or inspiration while on your journey to or from the venue and you might just want to draw it out as no all ideas can be typed, sometimes you just need to mind map.
Don’t forget your favourite pen and notepad.
9. Business cards
Make sure you have plenty of up to date business cards with you to pass to the people you meet during the event.
If you don’t have business cards, make sure you collect as many as possible so you can follow up with everyone after the conference.
10. Follow up plan
A good conference will leave you with lots to think about and do and many people to contact. Make sure you have a plan so you don’t miss out on benefiting from the inspiration and lessons from the conference.
- What are your tips for preparing for a conference?
- What conferences are you heading to this year?
- What is the number one thing you can’t go to a conference without?
Let us know in the comments section below.