8 Tips for Conference Attendees: Get the Most Out of Your Conference Experience

8 Tips for Conference Attendees

Image courtesy of Phil Whitehouse under Creative Commons License

Conferences are a great way to learn a ton of information in a short amount of time. They’re also a great way to reenergize your business, make new connections and establish life-long relationships. Here are 8 tips for conference attendees to ensure you get the most of out of your conference attendance.

8 Tips for Conference Attendees

1. Get the Best Seat

Sit a close to the front as possible. This is where all of the serious people sit. There are less distractions, less opportunities to checkout, and more chances to engage with the speaker. I treat conferences like I do a Depeche Mode concert. I make my way to the front row and take in every single word.

2. Do Your Homework

Learn everything you can about the speakers and their topics before the conference. Engage with them on social media and let them know you’re looking forward to their lecture. This makes the transfer of learning easier since you’re already familiar with their speaking style and topic.

3. Engage with the Speakers

Listen attentively and write down questions. If there’s a chance to ask questions after the lecture be sure to take advantage of that opportunity. While everyone is rushing to get to the next lecture, pause for a moment and let the speakers know what you enjoyed about the lecture. If you learned something, follow up with them and let them know how you’ll apply the technique they mentioned.  Speakers love to hear how you’re implementing the tips and tricks they’ve shared with you.

4. Buy the Video Library

Often times the video library is a few hundred dollars. This is a cheap way to make sure you get all of the information, rather than having to miss out on concurrent sessions. This also saves you the hassle and stress of trying to make sure you don’t miss a thing. You’re hands will also appreciate not having to write or type so much.

5. Purchase Materials

Often times you’ll get an attendee discount on books and training when you attend a conference. If you’ve done your homework and know the speaker and their offerings, you’ll be prepared to take advantage of a special deal and reduce the changes of buyers remorse.

6. Stay Healthy

Ensure that you stay hydrated and fed. Learning transfer is less likely to occur on an empty stomach. Be sure that you take a protein bar or granola bar with you just in case you need it. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the conference.

It’s best if you can focus on the conference and leave you work at the office. However, often times you’ll need to work during the night after a long day at the conference. Try not to work too much. Remember to get some sleep so that you can be alert and ready to go the next day.

7. Bring Breath Mints

There’s nothing like stinky breath to make a gal want to grab your card an move on to the next conference attendee. Bring a pack of breath mints to keep the conversation going.

8. Business Cards

Business cards are still a great way to stay in contact and they’re pretty cheap. Bring them with you so that you can hand them out. Be sure to follow up with all of the attendees that gave you one. This will jump start the development of a great business relationship.

What are your tips for a successful conference?




Uncover Your Buried Dreams

“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” – James Dean {Tweet That}

Your Squashed Childhood Dreams

When you were a child, you saw the endless possibilities that our world has to offer. You made declarations of greatness like becoming the president, a rockstar, a famous actor or an artist. You described adventures like exploring the world, flying like a bird, being a hero, and slaying a dragon. Your plans were great, but life got in the way and they became buried in the sea filled with other priorities, negativity, pessimism, and lack of resources.
You continued your journey through life accumulating just the right mix of information and advice that beckoned you along a different path. A path far from your dreams. Maybe you faced a difficult event that left you without resources to move forward or forced you in a different direction. Perhaps your greatest influencer, parent, or teacher laughed at you, petted you on the head, or simply stated that your dream was stupid. Maybe you told yourself that it would never happen, and that you should grow up, stop dreaming, and consider something more realistic. Whatever the reason, it’s time to pause, assess where you’re headed, and give yourself permission to dream again.

Uncover Your Buried Dreams

You might be thinking that you have no dreams, have too many dreams, or have no time or money to pursue them. That’s fine. You don’t have to accomplish your dream in one day. Just take one small step to remember what you wanted to do or be when you were young. Who did you pretend to be?  What did you pretend to do? What was it about that experience that made you happy? Write down your childhood dreams in a journal. All of them.

Today’s Dreams

Once you’ve accumulated a list of childhood dreams, review them to determine if they are still relevant. Move the dreams that you still want to accomplish to the top of your list. Then think about dreams that you have today that you want to fulfill. Write them down.

Once you have a comprehensive list of your dreams, group like items together. Then prioritize them. A good rule of thumb is to start with one dream that you can easily achieve because success with one dream leads to success with another.

Writing down your dreams is the first step in uncovering your purpose. Your dreams, combined with your passion and native genius will bring clarity to your life. {Tweet That} You can start taking steps towards fulfilling your dreams today.  In doing so, you’ll discover more about yourself and your purpose along the way.

What did you discover about yourself as you began to uncover your dreams?

Uncover Your Buried Dreams

Seven Steps Towards Identifying Your Purpose

Seven Steps Towards Identifying Your Purpose

Identify Your Purpose
In my last post I shared seven steps towards identifying your purpose. In this post I’ll break them down.
1.    Uncover buried dreams
2.    Articulate your passions
3.    Discover your native genius
4.    Identify your unique characteristics
5.    Review the activities above for similarities and commonalities
6.    Choose the activities that are key to driving your purpose
7.    Define your story based on these activities

Uncover Your Buried Dreams

In this step you’ll search your past for the dreams that you’ve buried as a child. Who did you pretend to be?  What did you do? What was it about that experience that made you happy?  It’s likely that someone in your life discouraged you from pursuing that dream because it wasn’t practical or because they wanted to influence you to choose a different path. It’s time to bubble up that dream and write it down.

Articulate Your Passions

Understanding your passions helps you identify the things that you like to do that bring you joy. Think about the things you love to do at work, during your personal life, and when you volunteer. These are your passions. Write them down.

Discover Your Native Genius

In the book, Multipliers, Liz Wisman and Greg McKeown identify native genius as something that you do naturally and exceptionally well.  It takes little effort on your part and you often find yourself doing it without reason, payment, or condition.  When you are doing something related to your native genius, you get results that are head-and-shoulders above others and you do it without breaking a sweat.
What’s your native genius? Discover yours by answering these questions:
•    What do I do better than anything else I do?
•    What do I do better than the people around me?
•    What do I do without effort?
•    What do I do without being asked?
•    What do I do readily without being paid?

Identify Your Unique Characteristics

Think about all of the things that you love or admire about yourself. Consider the positive statements or titles that the people in your life assign to you. Think about what people will say about you when you’re gone. These characteristics  are part of your purpose.

Find Similarities and Commonalities

After you’ve spent some time journaling your responses, take some time to discover the similarities and commonalities. The activities that occur most frequently help you fulfill your purpose.

Define Your Story

Now that you have an idea of the activities that make up your purpose. It’s time to imagine your life as a journey with you as the hero or heroine. Think about the activities that you listed above. Who are you helping by performing those activities? Why do you need to help them? If you rescue them, what will happen?  Define the story that you need to live; this story is your purpose.

Discovering your purpose takes time, self-reflection, and intention. Spending 30 minutes answering the questions posed in this article will help you identify it and take the first step towards personal mastery.  What’s your purpose?  Share it in the comments below and if you have a website or blog be sure to let me know about it too!