13 tips to maximize conferences (and a little bit about what I’ve been up to…)

I’ve been quiet. Very quiet. (Well, not on Twitter but on here, yes.) I’ll admit it. A lot has happened since I was actively posting in the Fall. One of these things is that I’ve been commuting regularly between South Florida and Atlanta due to the expansion of my business and speaking engagements.

Another big change is that I’m pregnant! At the time of this writing, I’m at 21 weeks… So I’m sure you can see how that could be slightly distracting.

Tomorrow, I’m on my way to New York City  to speak at Blogworld NY (on offline networking for bloggers) and next month, I’ll be back in Atlanta for Skirt’s Creative Conference .

A while back, I shared  3.5 easy steps to prepare for an event. In my own preparation for these upcoming conferences, I wanted to share with you even more ways to plan for and maximize your event experiences.

  1. Connect with speakers and other attendees ahead of time on twitter so when you attend their session, you’ve built rapport and stand out.
  2. Exchange phone numbers (or minimally emails) for people you ACTUALLY want to hang out with versus just twitter handled. Why? Sometimes twitter FAILS + you can’t reach ANYONE.
  3. Don’t automatically add  people you meet at events to your mailing list without permission.
  4. Respect your limits and don’t push yourself. Rest, drink water and even bring snacks so you don’t starve yourself or end up spending an fortune eating out.
  5. Wear comfortable shoes. At the end of the day, few actually remember what was on your feet except you.
  6. Bring a sweater: it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it… Nothing ruins a good session like freezing during a presentation or session.
  7. Pack an extra cell battery or charger. You will probably run out of juice. I love the “iGo.”
  8. Bring an extension cord! You’d be amazed how some facilities do NOT account for laptop usage and have little (if any) power outlets available… An extra perk is that it’s easy to make friends this way, too, or at least spark conversation.
  9. Help speakers out: when a speaker poses a question to audience, don’t stay quiet! Engage and speak up! But be thoughtful in your replies.. Don’t ramble or use the opportunity talk about a VERY specific problem to you that doesn’t apply to the rest of the audience.
  10. Update your calendar: If the event you are attending provides an online forum or calendar option, update your schedule for sessions you plan to attend. It’s motivating for speakers to see RSVPs!
  11. “Sit next to different people all the time. And ’say hello’!!” Sam Fiorella @samfiorella
  12. “Put “hello my name is” tag on back of your iPad!!” (or laptop!!) Sam Fiorella @samfiorella
  13. “Most speakers don’t mind live-blogging & tweeting during sessions, but do look up occasionally, it’s nice.” Jen Wojick @thejenatx

What other tips do you have? I’d love to add the to the list!

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  • Andrea Cook

    These are A+++ AWESOME! Thanks so much for sharing. The best checklist ever! Sweater, packed, check! 
    @andreacook:twitter 

  • http://twitter.com/ALgirlinUT Vicki Hobbs

    Hi! Great tips for conferences in your article. Thanks for being pro-active!  I work at a resort and see many, many groups come through. It is helpful (if you’re a spa girl like me) to find out if your group receives spa discounts, or other activity discounts.  Make the spa/activity appointments in advance if possible.  If not possible, then on the first day of the conference (space fills up quickly!).  Another tip is to ask where alternative restrooms are located to prevent long lines.  Bring bathing suits for some girl time and networking time w/ a glass of wine in the hot tub or heated pools. On the last day, ask the front desk or concierge to print your boarding passes for you – a complimentary service most guests are not aware of. :-)   Oh, and most importantly…bring a small pillow to sit on – those banquet chairs can get a bit uncomfy to the tush! Hope this helps make a more memorable stay where ever you travel!

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