How to prepare for a conference

Here are my top 11 tips to get the most out of attending conference and how to leave with content for your website, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram accounts.

  1. Start conversations before the conference.  Most conferences create a Facebook page or use an app like Whova or Slack where attendees can start to get to know each other ahead of time.

  2. Install the apps I mentioned in #1. They only work if you use them and yes, you need to use them. I know another app, right? But there is pre and post conference stuff that happens in those apps. I already have 3 appointments set up from using the app Whova.

  3. Make a list of the top 5 people that you want to meet one-on-one at the conference. I use the Notes app on my iPhone for this and I even downloaded their picture. Because let’s be real, at a large conference in a sea of people it might be hard to recognize someone. Having a picture will help!

  4. Make a list of questions you want to ask at the sessions or to those you might get to interview. #BePrepared for anything.

  5. Connect with speakers on LinkedIn and other platforms BEFORE the conference. Let them know you are excited to see them at the conference.

  6. Wear comfortable shoes, save the heels for dinner parties, you’ll thank me later. Also don’t forget that at these events it can get chilly, pack a light sweater or scarf.

  7. Don’t bring your mom purse. You know what I’m talking about the one with everything you might possibly need if your child was with you. I'm a fan of backpacks. It can hold my laptop, snacks, bottle water (why pay $5 for water when I can bring it myself?) sweater, tripod, chargers, cords and a small toiletry kit to freshen up with. Ladies, it’s a long day, you’ll need some essential like; a pack of wipes, deodorant, hairbrush, a clip or hair tie, and mouthwash or toothpaste and toothbrush (don’t want to breathe the dragon on anyone).

  8. Check out the floor plan of the event space. Familiarize yourself ahead of time, you’ll save an hour a day if you know where you’re going and don’t forget to know where the bathrooms are.

  9. Schedule time AFTER the conference to send messages to those you want to follow up with. This is where the magic happens. The secret is in the follow up. Whether it is with one of the speakers, a vendor, a new networking buddy or a potential client. Follow up is the icing on the cake.

  10. Set aside time to write a blog about the conference. Share your takeaways from the workshops, the speakers, the event space and the sponsors! Don’t forget to tag them in your articles and posts.

  11. Sit in the front row. You’ll get to make eye contact with the speaker and you’ll meet some interesting people. Plus your hand will be the first they see, because those bright stage lights make it difficult to see more than a few feet!

What’s your tip on how to prepare for a conference?