Follow these simple but proven preparation tips for attending a conference and receive the most value out of your time and money.
Attending a conference or event is a fantastic opportunity to learn new ways to excel personally and professionally and to network with others in a live environment.
However, whether you’re paying for the event ticket yourself your whether it’s being covered by your business or the company you work for, it’s important to prepare yourself to gain maximum value from your attendance.
6 Ways to Prepare for Attending a Conference
Here are six things you can do to prepare yourself to have a highly impactful experience when you attend your live event!
1. Ask yourself, “What would I love to walk away from this event with?”
What’s your goal in attending this live event? What problems are you looking to solve? In what particular areas of your personal or professional life would you most love to experience transformation and growth?
I highly recommend that you give yourself time to sit with and reflect on each of these questions, and then to journal down thoughts that come to you.
While you don’t have to know with absolute certainty in advance what you’d love to walk away from the event, it is helpful to begin allowing the ideas of what you’d love to create for your life to percolate before you arrive. I call this process, setting intentions.
2. Practice striking up conversations with strangers.
Today, technology has made it easy to connect with people we know and don’t know online. With a few mouse clicks, you can easily communicate with someone on the other side of the country, or the other side of the world!
However, one of the marvelous things about attending a live event is that there’s a physical energy that gets transmitted to you, and from you to others, that just can’t be replicated in the virtual world. Interacting with people in real life is where the real magic happens!
How comfortable are you talking face-to-face with others?
Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, in the time leading up to your live event, I highly encourage you to begin flexing your muscles striking up conversations with strangers.
Beginning a conversation with someone you don’t know is as simple as saying “Hello, how is your day going?” to someone in an elevator or standing behind you in the Starbucks line!
3. Start networking with other attendees before you even arrive at the event.
“Pre-networking” is a fairly simple concept, and chances are it’s something you may already be doing! It consists of connecting with people who have registered for your event, often by way of a Facebook group or a Twitter hashtag, for example.
Check on Facebook (check out my events tab on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/marymaninmorrissey/events/) or on other social media channels for groups or event pages related to the event you will be attending, and then join in the conversation there.
You can start by responding to a message someone else has posted, or you can post a message introducing yourself to the group and chatting a bit about what you’re hoping to walk away from the event with.
4. Book the event start and end times into your calendar.
Depending on how far you have to travel, or what else you may have on your calendar during the time the event is on, it can be tempting to think about arriving late or leaving early during the event.
However, for the event to be most beneficial to you, it’s best to arrive early and choose the seat you’d prefer, and to stay right up until the event ends each evening. You don’t want to miss a thing!
Also, for events that are taking place over several days, you’ll often have the opportunity to check-in and pick your name tag up early.
If you have the chance for early registration, I recommend you schedule this into your calendar so that you can take advantage of it and avoid long lines of people all checking in just before the event starts!
5. Practice self-care before you go.
If possible, do what you can to create some breathing room in your schedule before you travel to the event.
Do your best to eat well, get plenty of rest, and tie up as many personal and professional responsibilities as you can.
This way, you’ll arrive at the event feeling rested, alert and ready to soak up everything you can, versus feeling stressed out, maxed out and tired.
6. Take responsibility for your event experience.
The quality of your experience at the event will come down to the mindset (more about mindset: https://www.marymorrissey.com/blog/how-to-shift-your-mindset/) you show up with.
Being open-minded, present, and excited to learn will provide you with a truly rewarding experience!
There are many ways to actively be more mindful and present for a meaningful experience. For example, you may want to leave your cell phone in your hotel room to avoid distractions and to absorb all of the life-changing information. The more focused you are, the more beneficial you’ll find the content!
If you’re into meditation, the benefits of meditation will serve you so well, before, during, and after a transformational live event.
Prepare for your best self
Attending a conference is energizing and rejuvenating. You will come away with a new level of focus and determination, and you will find new ideas to implement from great mentors.
Whether connecting with old friends or making new ones, prepare to join a powerful community of like-minded individuals who will support and inspire.
And by preparing for the conference in advance, setting your intention to be present, open-minded, and enthusiastic, you will amplify your experience and receive its fullest potential!
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