How to Get the Most Out of Attending a Conference

Attending a ConferenceLike it or not, you will probably be sent out to attend a conference at some point in your career, which you’ll perceive as either useful — or useless. What you get out of the experience all boils down to how you approach it. Approaching conferences the right way can help you pick up new skills and learn more trends in the field.

Here are 12 easy tips to help you get the most out of a conference:

  • Read the agenda ahead of time. This will give you more time to figure out what sessions you want to attend. At the same time, you can prioritize these sessions and pick those that will benefit you career-wise.
  • Read the exhibitors list ahead of time. Doing this gives you an idea of who you want to speak with and what companies you’d like to get to know. This will help you avoid being overwhelmed with a large crowd of people, especially if you’re in a large exhibition hall.
  • Ask questions. Don’t be shy — you’re actually doing the speakers a favor. Most speakers don’t really like disengaged audiences, and being in a silent room is disheartening.
  • Keep your intro short. Practice introducing yourself in one sentence —you’ll be doing this over and over as you meet new people. You want to keep it short but still professional and polished at the same time.
  • Bring business cards. Since you’ll be going through dozens of events during the conference, bringing business cards won’t hurt — build your network!
  • Don’t be afraid to approach people. Since you’ll be around large numbers of people, don’t hesitate to approach them. You can start small talk by introducing yourself.You may be surprised what you learn.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Potentially being on your feetthe whole day can be painful. To avoid feeling uncomfortable during events, wear shoes that will allow you to learn, connect and work in comfort.
  • Don’t make non-work plans for the evenings. Networking often happens during the evenings. Forget about catching up with an old friend who lives in the city — find a more convenient time for personal matters.
  • Bring something to snack on. Since conferences often offer overpriced food, keeping small snacks in your briefcase can help your wallet. At some point you may not even notice that you missed lunch because you were too busy talking to someone.
  • Avoid alcohol. Having a drink or two is probably okay, but if you find yourself in the venue’s bar regularly, then expect something to happen that you’ll probably regret.
  • Follow up. Once you’re back in the office, get in touch with the people you met during the conference and build your network.
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Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 80,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.