Last week I talked about getting into the right mindset for a conference.
Today, I am wrapping up this series of tips on conferences with “how to be” when you are there – and after – to make sure you get the most bang for your conference buck.
If you know me at all, you know I am a big believer in setting intentions.
Conferences are no different.
I set my intentions before I go, and make it a habit to read them every morning.
That way, I go into each day knowing what I want to get from those precious hours.
I am clear about my purpose.
Then, I need to make sure my mind is ready to meet that intention.
And, for me, meal planning is essential for that success.
Conferences are in the habit of offering sugary pastries for breakfast.
I don’t know about you, but I need protein or I won’t make it through the day.
So, I always have a great breakfast with protein – even if I have to buy it myself.
And, I pack good snacks so I’m not tempted to gorge on the candy they so often provide.
Don’t be a slave to the schedule.
Look at the schedule for the day and decide in advance which sessions are nonnegotiable.
Where are the spaces you can take time for yourself if you need to?
Some conferences go for a really, really long time…like the ones that go for a week…
If you don’t take care of yourself during, you come home a complete waste of space (and may be missing opportunities during the event itself).
Don’t beat yourself up if you miss something that wasn’t on your mandatory list – it’s not that big of a deal.
Remember your intention.
Why are you there?
It can be just as rewarding to take time to yourself and go to the pool.
There are other people there – what relationships can you build?
I have made some pretty amazing connections at the pool and done plenty of business in my swimsuit.
Similarly, don’t discount the bar – even if you don’t drink.
After the day is over, that is where the conversations happen.
And, get good sleep (whenever possible) to be your best self during the day.
So, what about after?
A friend of mine, Debbie Whitlock, recently also wrote a post with great tips for conferences.
One of them was genius! Bring a Ziploc bag labeled with each day you will be at the event.
Each night, put all the business cards you collected that day into the bag, to help you remember when you met the person (especially helpful if their picture isn’t on their card).
Also write yourself a little note about what you discussed, or why you took their card.
For me, even when I am exhausted, I always send an email or text to each person I talked to during the day to follow up and say how much I enjoyed meeting them.
This helps me stick out from the crowd and not get forgotten amidst the conference fog.
Once you have finally made it to the end of the events, you are done…right? Wrong!
On the plane ride home, I make a list of the actions I want to take from the conference.
What I learned…who I want to connect with.
Then, the day after the day I get home, I start working on that list (reaching out to people is priority #1!)
Yes, you read that right.
I said the day after the day I get home I work on the list. So, what about the day I arrive?
I actually take an entire day off to breathe after a conference.
I do the laundry.
And put my house back in order.
This allows me some time to settle back into myself, my life, my mind, and get clear to take action on all that I learned at my conference.
What tips did I miss? Share them in the comments!
Until then…stay passionate!