Conference Checklist: How to Have a Productive and Enjoyable Experience

Writers, bloggers, students, and professionals! It’s time to get ready for your favorite overnight conferences and workshops!

 

Before you go, make sure to prepare and:

Plan Ahead
Don’t leave packing and scheduling to the last minute. Make sure you prioritize beforehand. Print out your tickets and agenda in advance. Keep these items in a place you will remember along with your keys, wallet, phone, and charger. If the conference offers events on and off site, sign up! Space may be limited so look out for updates. Research sponsors, brands, and speakers so that you are knowledgeable. Unsure of where to look? Begin with the conference website.

Pack Smarter
Allow yourself two bags. One to hold your wallet and gadgets (a purse, backpack, or messenger bag) and the other to store your clothing and hygiene products. Remember you can’t take full sized bottles on the plane, so it’s best to use travel size containers.  In addition to packing smarter, pack lighter. It’ll ease travel and unnecessary hassles with bag claims and storage. It’ll also give you more flexibility to move around without the extra weight. Save room for all that swag instead!

Give Yourself Enough Time To Travel
Arrive to the airport early. If you are driving, map out the route ahead of time. Ask for directions and look up traffic routes. Driving a mile in Los Angeles, CA can take thirty minutes or more!

Bring Business Cards (I Know, I Know. Just Do It.)
Conferences are a great opportunity to meet people. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and make the first move. It will definitely pay off. Use business cards as a way to break the ice. Swap information with the people you are seated with. You may not remember everyone’s name and twitter handle but having that information on a business card can spark your memory.

Get Some Rest
You deserve it. A restful night will make all the difference in the morning. Shut down. Let your body relax. If nerves, excitement, and anticipation make it difficult, do your best. But don’t hold it against yourself if it’s hard to wind down. If necessary, treat yourself to a relaxing day. If work presents obstacles, ease the stress with an activity of your choice.

 

During the conference, remember to:

Wake Up Early 
Yes! You must. Many of us do this anyway, but who wants to be stuck with a bad seat, the leftover croissants and cold coffee? When you start your day early, you are setting yourself up for success. The extra hours will give you more time to plan and instead of rushing to the events with only seconds to spare, you will be awake, alert, and aware.

Take Notes but Stay Engaged
If you want to jot some notes down by all means go for it but don’t forget where you are and who is surrounding you. Stay present. Remember that others are tweeting too.You will have time to catch up on other sessions with the help of social media alone. Follow the hashtags and make lists to review later.

Prep Your Social Media and Blog
What information is relevant to your audience and blog? What can you share? Is your goal to meet people, learn something new, or let loose? Perhaps some combination of all three? Personalize the information that you want to share so that it suits your needs and wants. Schedule your posts so you have time to unwind.

Familiarize Yourself with the Venue and Area
Venture out and explore. Get a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant. Take a walk with some friends. Go for a dip in the pool. Stay active and enjoy the sights. If you don’t know where to start, ask for recommendations or research online. You are not trapped in the hotel!

Manage Your Time
Be sure to keep the schedule in mind so that you don’t miss out. Pay attention to who the speakers are. Don’t worry about following your friends or sticking with your tribe 100% of the time. Try something new and challenge yourself. It’s all part of your growth.

Meet New People
Connect with other people in your field or niche but be open to stepping outside of the boundaries. First impressions are important and can make all the difference in future opportunities. Don’t judge people by  likes or followers. Don’t put people down or belittle them. Treat everyone as an equal. Exclusion only hurts you in the long run. Practice inclusion.

Document Your Experience
Utilize social media to share photos and memories. If you want to attempt live tweeting or broadcasting with Periscope, Snapchat, or Facebook go for it. Does the conference have a hashtag or hashtags? Use those within your posts and images. Also be mindful of the rules- sometimes recording is a no no.

Stay Hydrated and Fed
When it’s time to eat, eat! Don’t skip a meal or sacrifice your nutrition. That growling noise from the back of the room does not go unnoticed!

 

After the conference, try to:

Keep the Momentum Going
Improve your blogging and writing habits. Hold yourself accountable. Re-purpose content. Create new content. Just keep at it. Don’t lose sight of the goals you set for yourself. You can do amazing things!

Maintain Relationships
Keep in touch with new friends and develop relationships with brands. Many possibilities await you. Be genuine, sincere, and follow through. Don’t expect immediate business, instead focus on the relationship. Get to know each other before collaborating or partnering together.

Make Applications
What did you learn? What can you integrate into your day to day life? Apply it! Live it! Write about it too. These resources are beneficial to your career, why not pass it on?

There you have it! A trustworthy checklist! You will be among leaders, experts, innovators, and game changers! Make the most of it!

Best,

Denise Nichole Andrews

MFA

 

 

 

 

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